Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Animatus

Rain, a hundred thousand pinpricks,
Seeps in tent and heart and skin.
I've walked a hundred thousand steps,
A thousand more just to begin.

Night prowls inches from my pillow,
Live and weirding, thick with thought;
Pain in limb and joint and muscle
Croons a lesson I've forgot.

Wind with cloud and tide is singing,
Witless of me, or innocent;
Grace, like a strange contentment,
Seeps in skin and heart and tent.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Coast

My mind is grey.

Grey-white with wisps of salt smoke curling ghostlike from a driftwood fire;

Grey-green with the living long incoming surge of sea, a steady beat;

Grey-blue with metal clouds foreboding rain like woman's pending ire;

Grey-speckled with the shifting not-quite-solid sand beneath my feet.

Grey-bright, grey-burning, grey-soft-shadowed with the endless day.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Will It

Can You rejoice in me?
In my heart clogged
With pride, self-pity overfogged
Can You see?

Does this make something bright?
Push back blankets, stand,
Take a blank day firm in hand,
Is this right?

One step again and more:
Outlimp fog, if I dare,
Wrest back the will to care,
Beat down the door

With blows milk-weak--
Enough, and it may fall.
Let sag the wavering wall
And try to speak.

Is this my voice?
Did I say I would try,
And in that lie
Did You rejoice?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fingernails

she said
i looked like i was just hanging on by my fingernails
but i think
i have no fingernails
i do in real life of course, i paint them
but in my mind
my fingertips are bare and
bloody
scraped and sore from hanging on
so long, so hard

maybe
i don't need fingernails
(except in real life, to paint)
in my mind, maybe
my fingers should be bare and soft
and sore, so when i touch somebody
i remember to be gentle
or if i forget
it hurts me more than it hurts them

maybe, someday
my fingers will be scarred and strong
soft, and so used to being gentle
they won't need pain to remind them
i'll be kind without thinking
and maybe then
i won't need to hang on
so hard it hurts, or at all
only to stand
on my feet
tall

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Venial

The paper, folded in fourths, was damp.  "From worry," said the priest, his soft Indian accent resting on the r's.  He was small and slight, dignified in his Benedictine habit, and kind enough to make a joke of the fact that the nervous sweat from her palms had made it impossible for him to write--the pen ink just slid right off.

Since he couldn't write them, he said some things about meditating on the love and mercy of God.  She was still shaking too much, and trying too hard to stop the tears, to take in the words very well.

"None of the thing you have just told me are mortal sins," he had pronounced, a few moments earlier, when his face was still obscured by the confessional grille.  That was when she had started crying.  She had deliberately avoided specifying which ones she thought were capable of sending her to hell, and which not--because weren't they all, at least potentially?  But this kind dark-faced, brown-habited man had said none of them were, not the yelling at her parents when she was angry nor the thoughts about boys, and kissing boys, which she could not seem to help.  None of them mortal.  She was not going to hell.

He left the chapel.  Before her palms could soak the paper through again, before she could finish murmuring her penance, doubts were already swilling at the bottom of her brain.  Perhaps she had not been specific enough.  Perhaps she had made some sin seem less bad than it was, made it seem venial when it was really mortal.  Perhaps she had done so on purpose, and that would mean she had made a bad confession, and that would mean she was going to hell.  She tried not to listen to the thoughts, to say her penance in peace, but perhaps that was a sin too--wilfully to ignore her sinfulness.

If only she could go to confession again.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sacrament

Your throne is draped in white.
Your seat, this home from home 
full of soft light, 
of slanting shadows.
This tiny corner of a spinning planet,
this space in which you find me, draw me,
sit me down, make me still, 
create a cord of love and silence stretched between us 
taut as the string of a can telephone 
down which words travel.  
Here am I, still for one moment, held,
transfixed, transfigured in your heart all full 
of slanting shadows 
and soft words, this quiet corner 
that is the center of the spinning world.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Hollow Woman

I would be hollow.

Hollowed rather--perfect passive
tense--perfectly active action--
pain in limb and line and listing:
murky mind muddling to mountains,
cliffs of fall to find clarity
scattered in scraps and crumbs on the carpet.

And I would be hollow, empty
as the Heavens are empty, hollow:
filled with frightening secret spaces,
infinite spaces

where Love may dwell.