Poetry - January, 2005

Poetry

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.











Poetry

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.

Poetry

Little blessing spoken in road rage

Chariot from Hades, fire
glinting from its windshield, steel
knife splitting the atom
to pull in front of me,
so close now I can see
the driver, her phone, can hear
death ring. Searching
for a place to get away, I swerve
into a corridor of hate,
detesting her, my body fired
with full throttle hatred,
I rev up, speed ahead, so
close now I can see her
her mouth a frightened grimace.
How exposed she is, wearing
only the flimsy dress of a car,
her brief face etched
and dying on the air, when
someone calls, Bless this
child. May her parents see
her alive tonight, speaking
through me, a voice, then
peace, as she passes safely by.
Poetry

Praying with Luke

“When you pray, go into your room,” He said,
so each green dawn as spring light stirs, I sit,
womb-snug, in my small room, hushed high
above unfurling leaves, with Luke who’s all
of five days new, but solid as a loaf of bread,
and, oh, such wisdom; petal-soft, in and out,
I hear his breath. Receive. Release. That’s all
there is. Just this. Quiet. Nothing more.
Poetry

Weather report

The snow in North Dakota asks a question
with no question mark, no capital letter,
to indicate where it begins and ends
or what lies in the middle, for that matter.
The question is white and drifts above the cab
of the snowplow while in its orange light
people lean into the wind along the curb,
digging out cars that vanish in the night.

At home their dogs are silent, hearing no sound.
The cattle huddle and freeze, and buffalo
crossing the buried fence, free now to roam,
stand silver and stiff as nickels in the dawn—
eyes frozen wide and blank as if they tried
to comprehend the question while they died.