July 18, 2010

After Her Death

by Mary Oliver

I am trying to find the lesson
for tomorrow. Matthew something.
Which lectionary? I have not
forgotten the Way, but, a little,
the way to the Way. The trees keep whispering
peace, peace, and the birds
in the shallows are full of the
bodies of small fish and are
content. They open their wings
so easily, and fly. So. It is still

                    I open the book
which the strange, difficult, beautiful church
has given me. To Matthew. Anywhere.

July 06, 2010

Olives, Bread, Honey and Salt

by Melissa Stein

The lanes are littered with the bodies of bees.
A torrent took them, swarming in branches
just as the white buds loosened their hearts
of pale yellow powder. Each body is a lover:
the one with skin blank as pages; the one
so moved by the pulse ticking in your throat;
the one who took your lips in his teeth
and wouldn’t let go; the one who turned
from you and lay there like a carcass. If we were
made to be whole, we wouldn’t be so lost
to each offering of tenderness and a story.
Therefore our greatest longing is our home.
There is always the one bee that circles and circles,
twitching its sodden wings.

July 01, 2010

Grief is Not Chronologically Correct

by me.

This is what you’re not seeing:

I come home and inhabit windows
facing the northeast because I know
that’s where you’d be if
the divide between us
was less opaque and my eyes
were something better, walking always
and exclusively in the light-flooded
creating rare cracks
in the world where
warmth touches skin and
breathing is a little easier.

The house is cold
in your absence. I stare
through windows with shades
half-drawn, arms
half-wrapped around me
and I try to think
of things I could tell you,
try to imagine your voice
in reply.

You loved the light.
I remember a Thursday
morning, waking up to shadows
you cast on the bed. Facing the
window, back
to me, peering at
cedar trees full of gray jays
chorusing the sun. Your
frame filled it up, and now
I remember the world as an effort
to see around you,
your silhouette filling my vision.

This is what you’re not seeing:

Memories like distant clouds
threatening storms: you stand
on a beach, behind you
the sea-lined horizon of the
5AM sky. You carry
fishing pole, tackle, sandals
you can’t bring yourself
to wear. I know I should
be in this memory,
except you fill it
so completely and warmly.
I like this view of the world
just fine.

We are at the shore
and before you cast off
you take fistfuls of sand
and put them in your pockets.
This, you say, is worth
something, fools the fish.
They’ll come to what they know.
Even in that murky
darkness, there’s always sand
down there, making space
for light, the fish’ll come
to what they know.

Do you know
what a pearl is? his memory
asks me. Sand
surrounding itself in light,
lacquered sand, he
laughs, nothing but
lacquered sand. The fish’ll be drawn
to these kernels of light.

I inhabit windows facing
the northeast because I know
that’s where you’d be, and my
pockets are full of sand, weighting
me to the world
where light still comes
without you.
And thinking of you, I try
to wrap myself in it, become
like these granules of sand
awaiting their pearldom.