Sat by the river for a long time making sure it was still working. There’s a pile of finches in the currants stuffing themselves silly. This one finch slurped so many berries he could hardly get aloft. He sort of lurched off the branch and lumbered into the holy air. It seemed like the other finches were razzing him but maybe not. He fell toward the river like a huge currant covered with feathers. You have to grin at the greedy green thrilled persistence of it all, You know what I mean? Because there are finches in the bushes, Exactly so. What could ever be a more eloquent prayer than that?
My Pittsburgh son haunts thrift shops, collects old rosaries, hangs them on nails down cellar, near his bathroom door.
Buried with their best crystal rosaries, crocheted among their fingers, all those old ladies trouble me when I consider how their every-day rosaries were taken by their daughters to be entombed in gold, pasteboard boxes,
until years later when the daughters were readying for their move to Florida (for the sake of the mover’s bill) lightened their load by donating the darker contents of their dresser drawers to Goodwill.
She’s on life support. Racing to get there, his Jaguar fishtails on the frozen highway. She was a beauty and elusive as the future, his mother, usually traveling on his birthday.
He felt he couldn’t fly, had to touch dirt every inch of the way. To fly would be to unpeel too fast the onion of his hurt.
She’d call. He wouldn’t answer. He was busy.
Now it’s ice he notices, gray molars locking to dark bluffs, the way ice locks his heart in steely winter logic. Then sun shimmers on ice, the lock breaks, and love flows. Relief, oh melting! as he steers toward his mother.
The labyrinth here, as well! A canvas floor copied from Chartres, brought through the open door,
unfolds its whorl (and stains, old wax gone gray with candle soot or soles that walk to pray).
Long formal curves begin a common pace; my shoeless feet take off through living space . . .
So many rooms—for me— a vast hotel— eternity’s reserved a little hall.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).