Friday, August 14, 2009

Her face baptismal

1. Her face baptismal from the hospital pillow, ruby
shadow of her jaw; and his back, bedside, of
worsted wool, ironclad, as he stood, and with
old man's lips -- like petals pressed colorless
dry, from the pages of a book -- bent to smooth away
sweat and veiled soot, just a little: she cried, caught her
breath (on the surface of the waters), wouldn't show it or
sound, but sought to conceal what she'd found: like a

smoldering coal on the tongue, a letter like
sky's to the earth, of winter-kindled regret, like the

earth's of hard-husbanded forgiveness.

Thus the image, and more, for the

2. substance of it: mossy and round like a stone in the
hands while standing in tide away water -- as the
shore stretches further, this is what pulls small and
precious in our vision: how the light ages, greys, as its
bodies decay, and the evening rends its
breast in funereal precession, sackcloth and
starlight tears; how every morning is stricken, the
moon a decision she'll come to soon; how a

swallow of ice, child-sized, is swaddled in
straw, crated rickety down from the mountains, un-

like to silvered pieces of the sea.

Thus the thing, and more, for

3. here is her face, pearlescent: in its sway (the
hem of his garment) near to honestly gone, but
in the meantime let the guests in -- gods in
bare feet, visiting, palms bearing gifts --, while
fingers slide restless to cool on the bedside
rails, how white her nails and throat flickers, the al-
lure of extruded and sleepless machines, parched
lips and ice chips and IV drips, trans-

muting the body's leaden ore (al-
chemistry, each and every mystery) to gold. But she is

not so old as to be like buried treasure.

Thus the measure, and more. For

4. speaking, for seeking so clearly to accompany
wild-eyed moments out of doors, out of reach (wanting
anything to last while refusing to endure is
surely a reach exceeding grasp): for this, time
isn't the enemy anymore than water taking
flight from cupped color of palms -- rose, white --, its
flocking liquescent, feather-light: the florid will. (How
deeply we may seem to float while falling still.) None of

this is beyond any known capacity of the
mind, or the body's animal grief:

of metaphor or simile.

Thus the misery.

(Edited 13-14 August 2009, begun 11 August 2009. To call its source 'reading' would broaden definition: this poem came in part from the final scene of a television show, a moment made literally and figuratively to move only in my experience of it, the flipbook illusion of frames refreshed faster than the brain can distinguish, and the emotions demanded in a world both with and without us.)

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