Extra place set at your mind’s table
like Ezekiel’s: empty glass, clean spoon.
Hands that never pointed out the moon,
laid the baby in the Christmas stable,
dried dishes. Voice that doesn’t call
downstairs that he or she will be there
soon. In steam behind a bathroom door,
no one puts on makeup, leaves a towel
for you to find. No hairdryer.
No C in French. No midnight curfew,
no slamming door, no not–speaking–to.
When was it you began to hear
silence? They don’t tell you
about that voice, clear, insistent, steady
as a heartbeat, asking, How weren’t you ready?
Blue renderings pencil–in the day.
In angles and geometries the tide comes in, the building does not sway.
The physician and the poet begin an essay
on the heart: electricity, Passion play,
resurrection–jolts and horology’s decay
of chimes and ticks: love’s broken sway
of faulty pointing hands. Form evokes: spine on X–ray
haloed silver, white, and gray; pathways soothsay
bee to savage sun–tilted flower. Papier–maché
and marble palaces, lit in gold and paper lanterns: in résumé
the body’s endgame (star–chaosed birth to doomsday),
writ in blood, dug in clay.
All I Fear
All I fear,
Lord, on this planet teeming, wild,
Are the death of my child
And faithlessness to You.
The one would pull the other in its wake
As surely as earth’s spin each day our light must take
Or so I fear.
I beg you, don’t bring me to a test of love
I can’t pass. If boundless grief should move
The father who survives his child to hate You,
My bond with him is stark and raw.
When tender flesh of his flesh slips too early into universal maw,
How does raging Lear bear it?
In losing her Ilose You.
Let me not lose her.
When Idie let her remember
Her father’s antique faith in You.
Let her somber heart review the desolate fragility of life.
Let her mock the adiaphora of strife,
And shed warm tears of thanks to You.