Honeybees hum in the chimneyas they work, nothing deterringthem from their devotion to our home,not smoke, chemicals, or beekeepers.Forty years of honey storedinside the brick flue for generationsunknown, all of it perfectlypacked into tiny compartments,much like our own gatheringand storing, what we guard likeworker bees fanning the queen.In a dream the chimney overflowsin summer heat, honey streamingover the roof. Time to sort, to giveand throw away, I say, tossingbooks, clothes, even money.And still I awaken into disbelief—my unimaginable abandonment.O sweet world, your mornings of lipsand birdsong. The deep sleep of winter.
Command or description, I wantto glow as I walk through my day,as I glide through the hallsof the nursing home where I find youdozing in your bed. I want youto see how I’m learning to float,the air thinning between our kisses.And yet, the weight—harvest of moonand fruit heavy with sugar. In Augustheat I lift a melon, smell this longsummer pressed against the earth,what I will carry to you tomorrow,offering slices of remembrance.
“ I can see people, but they look like trees walking.” —Gospel of Mark
Trees with one leg, walking,spit of Jesus on his eyes,arms pointing up to a high dazzleas all around him a crowdof sound is becoming visible.What once was a small rumbleon the tips of his fingers, nowpours into him like a river,a drenching of light and shadow.He trembles on this new threshold.Is he man or tree? And did the Healeralso touch the crown of leaveswhich now looks back at himwith a thousand eyes?
1All those sermons about the seductionsof the flesh. Spiritual life, the elders said.But who could hear it without the intricatecochlea and hammer, or the wondrousmuscles of lips and face to form the words?I sat supported by a spine balancingmy head, heart muscle pulsing—homefor the mind, according to the Hebrews,nest of bowels cradling my emotions.2In the Book of Kells the IncarnationInitial swells with bodies, elaborateswirls around humans and animals—cats, rats, moths, and angels sharingequal space. See the harmony, and howthe borders are pressed by fecundity,how nothing is fixed, the top curveof the Initial having burst open, fragranceof lilies announcing the outpour.3Body as temple, the apostle declares.All around, the courtyards of clamor,our appetites and aches crowding the doorswhile inside, the table shimmers.I saw it first in my parents' facesand in the glare of sunlit snow.Beyond the striving and failures, the quietcenter waiting, curtains parted for entry,our body's hunger to be known.
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