The Holy Ghost is freely
pinned as sin is from the Devil
amongst the broken back pews of a somnambulant congregation
dreaming of the post church *** luck buffet.
Release it to the wild,
it flies to heaven,
anointing a stained-glass angel peeled
from the wall as second.
The angel says,
”You must wrestle me,”
I dream of catching the uncatchable,
holding that one untouchable thing.
The angel breaks its shoulder to
of my material hunger
to devour the wrong blood, flesh— to the bone
It ascends unsatisfied
as an altared Christ
cursing the church to contain his blessings in a stone idol and
those who all pray open-eyed.
All life mother kneaded him
from her ma’s-g’ma’s pain and joy,
from the bodies who all knew her
into the one she knew well,
collected from all the raw bits
lost, found, saved from breads baked-unbaked,
while the yeast swelled her stomach
and pocked her skin. She said, “Eat, child,”
and he fed ‘till her flesh broke.
In the dark oven she lifted him,
chest filled with his sweet-sour breath,
his body spread out in the cool
table light of day, fingers uncurled
in the dun brioche of her lap,
her hand cradling his in this new time
far from the mute silence of his
once buttered existence, trying
to suckle on a tongue empty world
knowing only his Kaddish.
Is it so terrible to mourn a mother on Mother’s Day,
to cry for the ones that shut the door and never returned,
those never equipped to nurture a newborn from birth to death,
the ones who desperately wanted to be mothers but couldn’t be,
those who lost a child or never wanted to be mothers but are—
should this be a day for the successes and joys and not the tragedies,
for just the good mothers and not the bad ones?
Both get their fare share of good and bad poetry,
memories full of exultations and recriminations,
letters that get sent across the miles and get burned.
It’s by luck that each child gets a lifelong angel or Devil.
Just s ay their name because they gave you life,
whether it be a shout or a whisper
depends on the weight of your joy and pain.
I should have broken my back by now
with my lupine spine,
feet screaming as if in a wolf trap.
My outrage prowls the low valley
searching the arid land for water
to slack the thirst,
the howl inside.
Once there was real silence
but no answer.
Now, rage is my lone truth.
The lamb has been eaten.
Nothing stays in my broken jaw.
What is caught just slips away.
The times are always lean
for those who howl alone.
Brother, I await you outside the window
amongst the night traffic zoom and scent of pine,
story sitting on the throat’s knife edge,
the truth unable to roll out from blood fear.
Mother, I feel your harsh breath outside my soul.
Father, your praise is hidden in the hot stones.
Brother, the moon slices you,
tripling fear across the unforgettable,
a memory haunting a thousand of my nights.
How can I love the ghosts of those beings I hate
or hate the shadows of things I truly love in light?
Brother, I know what I can only imagine.
In the night, I know your hand is there, all in mine.
I imagine the cold breath of stones.
I destroy the gold house
inside my soul—
the nova of light on
gold archway, gold mantle,
gold walls. The last bits of
real places that once shined.
l thought, forever
in the aura of sun-
shine on once
gold rooftop, gold windows,
gold doors. Look in,
search and see, find: black gold
steeped in the dark
burned down to ash of
gold wood, gold grass
the once gold streets, gold hills
all around my dead sun.
This dead sun will never rise, rise
and shine its light
to my gold soul.
It appears just weeks after the last tear,
my mother’s sky blue dress on her life ghost:
same walk, dove shape, soft voice, brown hair cut short-
at least from behind, in the same love light
that moved from donation bin, rack, to her
in the way that the poor are ****** to wear
the dead’s clothes, hand me downs echoes worn thin
enough to be bleach clouds or ghosts of ghosts,
the seams just barely holding together,
hem taken up from low earth to sky,
the orphan leftovers recut and sewn
to match the little girl holding her hand
tight enough to be a matching heaven,
memory of a bright and special life.