Heavenly Creator I ask this not in my own name but in the name of the One face down near the olive grove. She tried rehab three separate times. Lord, I ask this not in my own name, for I am unworthy, but I ask, instead, in the name of the One abandoned by friends. I was a thousand miles away when she died. Holy Physician I ask not in my own name, but in the name of the One too beaten to shoulder the weight. Drugs bruised deeply into her battered heart. Father, I ask this of You in the name of the One who beseeched You with His final breath: Here is your daughter. My beautiful Jennifer. Take her into your home.
____ Published in The Scent of Water on Mirrors, 2013 Written 2004
I wrote a poem in my dream last night. A friend whom I haven’t seen in several years was walking down a staircase and several people whom I didn’t recognize were milling around. I leaned over the top railing and shouted to my friend, “Revise with me!” and then I called out a poem. She stopped to listen, but never replied.
If we start at the same time from the same place with my right hand touching your left our feet will move together perfectly.
We saw this coming, saw your fragility, your fading to whispers. Even so it still disrupts, still upsets, still sets our hands to shake, our eyes to blink too rapidly too often, our hearts to weigh as heavily as stone walls.
I have never glimpsed you in the delicate powder of cabbage butterflies flickering across fields, nor on the frail wings of earthy brown sparrows who peck and scrabble at sidewalks, not even in the gold and rosy braid painted along the horizon every morning. But in the torrential battering of rain pelting grass blades and windows, flooding streets and cities, crashing over bridges and shifting houses from foundations, you shine.
Twice each day cars converge on the street out front as if there is no other journey to travel from east to west. Their greed to gain asphalt is visible from the window, how they press frontside to backside eager to move forward. Pedestrians prance and stride on the sidewalks, free in the self-deception that they are not on the same sojourn.
Who thinks about being old when we’re six or seven? Like next Christmas, or going to high school, or being able to read thick books, tomorrow is merely a concept and concept is only a word that small child can’t pronounce. But here I am old, complete with cane and grumpy impatience and seven years old feels strange now. One or two things are still the same sometimes. I still wonder about where you went those long years past. Why you could, I couldn’t, and if I ever would. For myself, I hope to never have a marked placewhere stray souls come thinking to find me, the way I sought to find you and discovered only a grave with a weathered stone.