Poetry - February, 2012


Broken best

From where I sit
I see the celebrant's feet,
black, cap-toed brogues,
dress shoes carefully shined,
their ancient leather
creased and cracked.

We bring who we are,
our carefully cared for,
often broken best.

He gives what He has,
wine from broken feet
which I would wash
with grateful tears,
polish with my wild,
unfettered hair.



Rivers of Ohio rain cascaded
    into March, flooding streams and roads,
        then turned, one evening,

into snow, despite the 36 degrees
    and the way the groundhog,
        one month before, missed his shadow.

So there I was by the road, bending down,
    picking up my mailbox
        knocked down once again

by snow swept into it, the plow's force
    strong enough to push
        a person over, but not really

massive, the favorite word
    that morning as the media described
        the 9.0 quake in Japan, the ensuing

tsunami. The axis of the whole world
    shifted several inches, they told us,
        shortening the day by 1.8 microseconds,

so unlike Joshua's lingering sun.
    And no horns signaled heroic victory.
        No moon refused to rise.

Only the dark storm of radiation
    loomed above like a god gone awry,
        while some kneeled in water, or snow,

begging for a word of explanation.



This is the season, trees stripped
clean and what was hidden now
is seen, the path that leads into
the woods, the littered leaves,
the crooked walls that once marked
fields where grass grew tall,
remnants of a time long past,
reminding me that nothing lasts.

Will death be like this, do you think,
the day the breath does not return,
will our true nature be revealed when
stripped of memory, heart, bone,
sight, will we, too, open to the sky,
and, like the forest, fill with light?



He roamed quarries at Carrara
caressing blocks of marble, tracing veins
like a blind man
to find the Virgin within. Here,
the limp arm hangs; here,
the bent head of the mother;
here, her murdered son.

He coaxed her from stone
chiseling in her face the memory of
Simeon's prophecy of a sword piercing her heart:
a wholly inadequate portent for this,
this hammer of death
harder than marble.