The way years of repetition give a dancer
jointless grace, she hoists the bed sheet
making of it flawless convexity. From the window
a thrust of air laced with the opiates of late summer
huddles beneath: loosening sap, pollen teamed and shifting
making corporeal the air as schools of minnow
do the sea. In that vacant moment
as the sheet exhales
she lets herself forget. The last year, when the anxieties
bound to health metastasized into acceptance.
And further: cancer found at sixty-five, then rooted out
like a heretic from the once peaceful township
of his body; the stroke that left his brain
an anemone softly tousled by
surrounding currents –all muted
in the cradle of domestic resolve.
But as the fabric, fully winded, settles in
sketching the eroded topography of the
husband of fifty-nine years, who once daily
scared her with his anger, who now breaks her
heart with lightness of his arm she must lift
to tuck him in
the present reasserts in bolder strokes
than before, in deeper, less forgiving
blacks. Punishment, she thinks,
for allowing this moment
Watching the dew gather
in a sigh upon the grass, your absence feels
like a spider loitering on the soul.
What strange tensility the soul’s skin has,
to endure for years the sledges of grief,
only to break now against the fog
raising its hymn
among the blushing maple.
Sometimes I’ve nothing left
but to touch that absence as one would
the cheek of a sleeping child
and marvel at how this dogged grove
weaves the sun and works the rain
into one more lush renewal.
like fall roses, as he lies
in his black calyx.
Joy is the error
made deep in the spin of a
The desert wind starts
its ballet of divisions.
You mouth freezes mine.
What fog had seduced
became a concept of trees.
Forest, let me go.
For suffering gilded my faith’s shifting
contours, I transposed violence across
the algorithm of piano keys.
In the murk past the stage, the audience
swelled, an insatiable ear I fed my
history trimmed of its disfigurements.
Decades past acclaim, I grasp finally
how hermitic this stage is; this music
no longer can debate the growing noise.
Now with finality’s last thrust of strength–
my tuxedo holding the confluence
of my body the way hands hold prayer–
I brick with each note the bleak chamber where
memory’s stem is cut and flower pressed.
Image: Dimanche après-midi (Sunday Afternoon), 1953 by Dorothea Tanning