Poetry - January, 2012



If I were alone in a desert and feeling afraid,
I would like a child with me.

—Meister Eckhart

Across the basin
        the blue of mountains, beyond
those waves still more. Not

        rollers and not clouds, they are
animals waking from sleep,

catching a scent, trace
         of the child who, over seas,
picks up a bone flute,

          draws breath, and like a light wind,
a dawn wind, begins to play.


Meeting Sophia

jolts me into sun diamonds and crunching snow
as we turn round and around, myself attempting
to unravel her leash from my knees as she
follows me eagerly with wet nose
and lapping tongue. Sophia!
who sensed, on this winter path, my longing
and leapt toward it, a sleek muscle of joy
that nearly knocked me down,
all kisses and cornsilk-soft ears and a name
that means Wisdom, a name
that is not wasted on this animal
whose owner, an elderly man wearing woolen ear flaps,
is crying, Sophia, have some manners, Sophia,
in a charmingly accented voice that Sophia
wisely ignores, continuing to kiss
and kiss this strange woman who smelled like
sadness a moment ago, this woman
who is now laughing.



Then my mother became my child.
I'd felt so light on the teeter-totter
that I was surprised by such power,
holding someone so important
in the sky with nothing but my weight
on the other side. It was kind of thrilling,
kind of strange. And I noticed the earth
is jagged with faults and fractures.
Grass staggers in uneven dirt and
the shoreline zigs and zags. You
can never glue the two uneven pieces
of a broken teacup perfectly together.

When she died, I worried about her
as if I'd driven her to her first day
of school and left her there alone.
For weeks I wondered, did she find
her classroom? Is she making friends
in heaven? I'm trying to glue pieces
of the cup together. Heaven is roughly
what I mean. If God ever used that word,
he spoke in Hebrew. Nothing, it turns out,
has a simple surface. Maybe it's the
missing and the faults we have to love.