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Holy in the Infinite

Month

September 2016

Bitterness

Bitterness (21 September 2016)

when I was born,
my father lifted me
to his chest,
whispering his oldest secrets
to my new ears.
And this was how
he told me my name,
calling up the darkness.
And ever since,
I’ve held bitterness
tightly in my palms
pushed deep into pockets.

the way the roads I grew up on
turn foreign again,
the invisible exhausts me.
And as the unknown widens,
I can feel myself narrowing,
softening to the sunlight,
slipping sideways
through the draft.

and I’ve always been known
for playing my cards
too close to my chest,
for tucking them into my boots
and heading out
into the night.

you would think
I would have learned by now
how to walk without the ache,
without the snapping tremble
of feathers.

and you would think
I would have learned by now
how to love without the same.

and now your smell lingers
in the warm linens of earth
damp pines
and the darkest soil
tugging at the hem
of the new cool mornings
that wrap me in this autumn,
the rain coming down
the way I never expected you
heavy
insistent, steady.

come back
come back
call me back
from those windblown plains
come back from the edge of the ache
wrap me in the patchwork
stitching of old sins
press your heart to my hand
my palm begging
to lay down and rest.

Sparrow

Sparrow (28 June 2016)

You were choking, and I,
midwife to the omen,
pulled the sparrow
from your throat,
in a shower of ragged stars.
Dead and wet, soggy, until he shook
off his sodden feathers
and flew off,
Showering my hands,
Streaking my face,
with blood.

And the gravity of the seasons
between us,
stood apparent.
Nothing changed, nothing forgotten.

Out here,
The dead outnumber me.
I’ve been burying them
one at a time.
Handful of dirt,
stone,
more dirt.
Pressed down with my heel.

I’ve been practicing my eulogy.
And asking the trees
what they think of it
as I walk.
But of course,
Trees don’t speak.

Are the dead thirsty?
They are putting down roots here
Like the trees that don’t speak.

Rain taps on their wooden
wooden chests that they brought
from the old country.
Full of their living.

Hollow, dry.
Turned in
I remain

Put your boots on
Stand in the rain with me
Set down your dead
While we can still see one another

Untitled

Untitled (10 September 2016)

your smell lingers
in the warm linens of earth
damp pines
and the darkest soil
wrapping me in this autumn
new mornings with
the rain coming down
the way I never expected you
heavy and instant

and now
come back
from those windblown plains
where you’ve wandered
come back from the edge of your ache
bind me in the patchwork stitching
of your perceived sins
press your heart to my hand
my palm begging for your rest
in simple
holy rhythm

Hail

Hail (27 June 2016)

Hail

It all started with this.
The dead owl delivered to my doorstep,
Left in the night
Spread wings and open eyes
As if to say

Welcome to the world
Beyond the land of the living

I looked to the ocean
And found she’d run as far away
As I’d ever seen
Slack-eyed and still
As if to say

Even I have learned the loss
And have given up.

Walking away from home
By the broken down fence
And frozen pond,
Crow beating the air
warning
I’ve come too close
Two giant cats
And a coyote in my path
As if to say

Run faster child,
Your time is running out.

If you had been here,
He wouldn’t have died.
I would have traded myself
For his breathing
In an instant.

And now,
This owl feather in the envelope.

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