Poetry - July, 2012



I do not expect to breach heaven
(if there is some heaven
beyond our good, green earth)
via pearly gates, golden streets
with searchlights searing the sky
and something noisy from Handel
blaring from the speakers.

If at all, the passage will be
secretive and silent,
a chink through which I slip,
perhaps between the rosebud
and its fragrant flowering,
the moment when baton is lifted
before overture’s first note sounds.

Rarely in gaudy glory of liturgy
as Host is elevated, eaten,
often in spring’s gentle uncurling,
autumn’s downward spiral,
I see a shadowy hand beckon,
or hear a quiet voice calling,
“This way. Slip through here.”


Count it all as loss

All of it: children whistling ryegrass,
my husband rubbing my back

in his sleep. Consider rubbish the sun
climbing the eye of Delicate Arch,

the scent of popped-open coffee.
Leave it behind, pleads the scourge-

scarred Paul. Lay it down and rise.
But even loss is hard to count as loss.

This morning frost has leathered
the nasturtium, but I cannot endure

ripping the haloes of leaves from their pot.
The astilbe, once a lavender mist

in my window, burns toward winter,
seed heads trembling like the hands

of an old charismatic. Maybe in heaven
I will remember the March I buried

those bare roots around the base of the oak
and brooded about some sin or another

holding me fast in the mud, spring
the only unseen I could bear to believe.



He peoples the darkness with stars:
Eyes in all that vastness.
He stores sunlight in his tabernacle
Meting out each day enough to gladden
The trees and moons with their changing
Colors. Vestments over land and sea.

Space is a trellis in his garden.
He scatters organelles, pods, bulbs,
Protozoa, spermatozoa, ovaries
All bursting into blossom. Every womb
Awaits the coronation of its birth.
Stone fruits and star apples.

The universe plays his tune-book.
He breathes sacred airs
Obbligatos, cantatas, Sephardic chants.
The seasons speak through him:
The timbrels of spring, the blare of high summer,
Fall’s blue cello, winter’s gusty pipe organ.
Angel rapture and our plainsong.


The watcher

Between His thumb and fingers
worlds rise—
symphony spun walls
where once was mud.
His palms press wet.

Head against the yes of His chest,
her fingers play over patterns,
trace lines worn in place by a
whirring wheel.

Tucked between His knees,
her fingers press echoes,
watching as He turns
cistern from chaos.



“An Engine against the Almighty”
—George Herbert, Prayer (1)

We wrestle, gentle
Jehovah, gentle
beast, or rather ring
bearer, keeper of dirt
and sleet under
streetlights. A kingdom,
weightless, entrusted
to the white palms
of a child. A garden
with a certain desert
distance, an angel
interference: this
late-night duel. I know
the sound of wind
as well as I know
the remnant of your
footprint. Or is that
the mark of my
knees in the dirt?