Poetry

Poetry

After long illness

          God never makes anything without a remedy.
                                                          T. H. White

Sprinkle me with rose water, saffron and powdered cloves.

I crave Basilisk baked in hummingbird milk, haunch
of unicorn—O, Lord, set before me full platters.

I celebrate star fruit, brie, angel hair pasta,
artichokes, tilapia, wine,
                                           drizzled truffle oil,
and parsley both curly and flat.

Bard pheasant breasts, crush garlic, whip cream,
and let me lick the bowl and the beaters.

Deep fry onion rings. Stew the okra
and the collard greens. Fill me with popcorn, doughnuts
and fried egg sandwiches.
                                            Hold the ketchup—
I am not completely shameless.

I praise even the coarsest of salt
crusted upon sliced limes,

for it is good to hunger and thirst.














Come forth

I hear you’re good at washing feet—
ever thought of washing the dishes?
You wouldn’t have to stop talking.

The one about the Pharisee and the leprous camel—
I could listen to that again. But I figure,
why sit out here in the parlor,

using up perfectly good cigars,
when we could all be
getting something done in the kitchen?

And if you set the example that way,
my sister there might actually think
to roll up her sleeves once in a while.

See what I’m saying?
Lazarus might even take the hint.
Hah! Over his dead body, he says.

Sonnet XLVIII

Now by the path I climbed, I journey back.
The oaks have grown; I have been long away.
Taking with me your memory and your lack
I now descend into a milder day;
Stripped of your love, unburdened of my hope,
Descend the path I mounted from the plain;
Yet steeper than I fancied seems the slope
And stonier, now that I go down again.
Warm falls the dusk; the clanking of the bell
Faintly ascends upon this heavier air;
I do recall those grassy pastures well:
In early spring they drove the cattle there.
And close at hand should be a shelter, too,
From which the mountain peaks are not in view.

Peter

O Christ,

you know better than any
what it is to taste death
through love,
to feel the dull pulsing, side-pinned,

spiky memories stitching into your brain.
When water from under your heart
bathed the world,
you irrigated too the planted cross,
that it might take root, and, in us,

never die.

Yet I resist its rooting in,
and strive to strip it bare in me,
when it is I who should be naked
and ashamed.
I obviously have not died enough.

So: overturn me,
stretch me on your frame,
and, for your name, teach me
the inverse,

that I might know love through death.