Forgiveness

Down the boulevard

There is a little chapel

And inside of it, past its thickened iron-wrought doors,

Meet two strangers who will never meet again.

They talk over the sacrificial wine; they say grace together over two loaves.

They eat in silence.

One asks the other for his name.

It’s Eduardo

And he lives by the river. He makes his living

Giving guided boat tours of the local valley, crosscut

By two mountains, framed by them from both sides.

He has lived her his whole life, but he has never set foot inside this chapel until today.

It is Wednesday evening and no one is there save the two strangers.

I am very troubled,

Says Eduardo,

Troubled by what I have done,

Stolen kisses along the riverwalk with

One of the college boys from the city.

The other man cups his hands and tells Eduardo that he is forgiven.

Eduardo,

Without knowing why,

Believes what the man says to be truth.

He kisses him on the mouth and the other man kisses him back.

Down the boulevard

Eduardo walks on Sunday  to the little chapel,

Framed by fig trees half in bloom.

His pockets are full with a donation for the church.

He asks for the janitor,

A tall man,

Who slept the floor on Wednesday night,

Who prayed with him and

Offered him solace.

“There is no Wednesday janitor,” says the parishioner.

Eduardo fumbles for the words.

“But he told me his name—

He was called Jesús.”

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Flexuous

Perfectly carved

Like a sculpture old

She stands on the stage

Wearing only a sash

Please do not look

She has only tonight

Before it all fades

The twisting lights

Blue and green and

Red and yellow and-

There she is.

If you look

You may never see

Again.

February The First

February came
With all the excitement of a wet leaf
Soggy, damp, and dew-dropped.

The leaf holds no promise for me;
Prim-rose and parquets line
The cusp of my garden.

But to the vole; squeaky, sullen
Silent among the reeds and thistles
The wet leaf means renewal.

The Nightmare

I saw the beast, he says,

Eyes wide, worn cotton blanket tucked

Under one arm.

With a jaguars body

And bear’s feet

And a lion’s mouth—

The devil!

 

What did he do? His mother asks.

Maybe he’s ugly but he’s not so bad,

Maybe he’s powerful but gentle still, maybe

He walks the earth just to tell us something

Good and whole and pure.

 

He wasn’t, mother,

The boy whispers, afraid.

Everyone worshipped him, and

Him alone. And they forgot God,

And all the children danced around him, and

They were happy, very happy.

 

So? His mother asks.

So, he says, shaken,

He ate them all up.

All of the children danced around him

As he ate them one by one:

Very happy, very happy,

Then nothing at all.

The Crane

Paper cranes torn from the scraps of picture books long forgotten,

Lifeless illustrations bending into folded wings,

A curved beak, the contours of the neck,

Covered in pastel picturesques:

A dusty sunrise closing in on an orange mountain-

A child’s favorite landscape.

 

And here, now, she breathes life into it with every crease of paper,

Sighing into the sunrise, which is purple and mottled with

Chocolate milk fingerprints.

From the rooftop she lets it fall;

It soars but remains lifeless still

 

The Seventeen Year Locust

The Seventeen Year Locust

Like the cicada she rises

After seventeen long years

Lifted from her cave

Beneath the earth’s surface.

 

The dirt, the debris

The weight of the years

Has caused her fragile wings

To snap upon first flutter.

 

She waits on the ground

While the others, who

Too waited for the light

Of first morning break free.

 

Alone, left behind

She waddles along

The dirt pathway,

Ignored by all.

 

As the others mate,

Flapping through the air,

Fluttering together,

Intimately, briefly-

 

She watches in

Stunned silence,

Chirping to herself,

Jealousy, jealousy.

 

For she was born

To be beautiful, her

Exoskeleton perfectly

Molded to fit against the curves of her-

 

Wings.

She flaps,

Attempting to take flight,

And, of course, goes nowhere.

 

 

 

 

Above her,

The dance of love breathes,

Betraying her heart

With every flutter.

 

 

Each is paired,

And none are spared

From their inevitable,

Early demise.

 

They lay their eggs,

Tiny, slimy products

Of a brief and breathless

Winged encounter-

 

And,

Then,

They die.

The parents die.

 

Their love is forgotten,

The eggs wait,

Alone, under the surface,

For seventeen hapless years.

 

And she, who is

Unpaired, waits for death

To greet her slowly.

The others dead, she lives on for months.

Falleth From the Vine

(I’m not much of a poet, but here goes…)

“…As the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as the falling fig from the fig tree.” Isaiah 34:4

 

 

As the leaf falleth from the vine,

As the fig falleth from the fig tree,

You shall fall into my mine open arms,

And we shall tumble in the reedy boughs,

And all the world shall slumber.

 

And while they sleep

A thousand sheep

Shall be met with the sword of God.

And a thousand goats, and a thousand steeds,

Shall fall thereto.

 

The ground is soaked with blood,

The sky is grey with vengeance,

But we are perfect before his eyes

(Fallen into my arms)

Here among the reedy boughs.

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