Sunday, June 14, 2009

Giving Shape to Zero

With the tip of my index finger
I touched the red and gold card-
The Zero, the Fool,
The friend of a friend of a poltergeist.
Your request – please trust me -
My assurance - whispers, echoes, refracted light.
You and I reached this edge.
No more ‘please, please, please’ or ‘I’m sorry’
Better to utter a prayer
That our earth will hold for a moment more.

Expectation of the whooping caused the boy to shriek-
Jeans pulled down to his knees-
The target named for a red hand imprint on round bare behind
Mother looming, her lip curled up, open palm turned-
Then silence.
She stood and exited through the open door
The mind committed the deed.
The act was unnecessary.

No moon that night and only a star there, or there.
Your path away led from where we stood.
We held hands for a moment and I looked at you.
You looked ahead.
You turned your back to me and I closed both eyes.
I heard your steps, left then right, in the soft earth-
I, the boy with a red cap, drooping trousers and upturned gaze –
You, the man, with chin upturned and eyes scanning
Carrying my flashlight into the tumbling fog.

In passing that glass to you, ice tinkling,
I saw the rank dance begin again.
Three parts gin and one, water –
Water you did not request.
A dance from the back and back of time-
Lit by a spotted sun and the stink of stale mouths.
Your red-faced listing and crushing,
Bent words a slopping pig song of inverted notes.
The melody repeated, dissolved, and came again.
I dreamed that the notes flew low on black wings
Lifting dust as they sang just inches above
Lifting into clouds that rolled along
Wind swept, increasing, wetter and darker-
Leaving me soaked in your sticky rain-
Mine now, all of it, mine.

I have carved a mandala in concentric stones,
Markers to the memory, the ache and the joy etched.
In stillness, details re-animate –
The thread of light, a voice in song,
The smell of dirt from the traveler’s shoes
Just moments ago kicked off
As he lifted himself up and re-commenced to fly
Below him the imprint of his feet and the small shadow
Of the point where he once touched earth.

June 14, 2009