Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Before Prayer

Each night I imagine your hands.
I ignore a November that falls silent on the grass.
Shall I consider? Each night I swallow your darkness,
my chest, a necessity, a firm mattress that hides
your eyes as you crawl through the sheets and up
my spine. This is how we exist.
Each night I set voices to fields that sink
deep into your hands of rosaries, where we are seated
in partnership, where we burn and bone, coaxing
forgotten graves that fall.
They burst into bloom while mouths are still wet
in the soil. Each night I keep vigil beside you
as you rock yourself to sleep.
My wings, your wet pillow. Your tears, my comforter.
Tonight I will pull along the shadows, place
your chest to mine, and somewhere in the distance
a train will sound. The sound will be of riders
returning to loved ones—
it will open our eyes to here and now.
It’s not that we have made history or have turned
a deeper shade of gray. It’s not that we are failing
or clinging to the past. It’s the way the season stares
leafless and white before the churchyard like a trunk
of fleeting memoirs that rattle in the attic before
death—that string of voices,
now frozen in the red of a raven’s throat.

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