The afternoon is telling itself
in the way we are gathering
sand between our toes,
crushing sea shells into
tiny pieces of chalk, gashing
the shoreline and seeking salt
wherever the water drags itself
to forget our footprints like a memory
it never wanted. The last streak
of sunlight falls on us like a lowly
spotlight, the sky a wounded animal
heaving itself into a shade. Behind us
is a river that houses a secret you
never wish to talk about. So we shy
away from its mouth still pouring ***
and tattered petals into the sea.
Here, the wind comes to speak to us
in a cold acoustic — Nick Drake, or
Bon Iver. The strums of a daydream are
undoing your hair. We sink our hands
into the water — our fingers getting cold,
saying it is okay to miss heat. The ocean
is holding us with shy wrists. We tread
quietly in its palms, carefully dropping
the names we've been trying to forget.
Everything gets swallowed up eventually,
even the day. We fall silent, our words
drowned out by a chorus of tides.
Soon, the horizon will raise itself
towards us, and all will be lost beneath it.
And the tides will fold themselves
to meet us once more, blanketing our feet
in the foamy cold. You then tell me how
kicking a wave has become a habit, how
you once thought that one can bring
your anger to whoever hurt you first.
So we welcome the night kicking
each wave that comes to us.
We know the waves will kick us back,
our anger rolling to greet us back, too.
The moment my hands come
to meet in prayer
know that I am holding
two broken fists held together
by lola's rosary beads
so tight against my skin
you will mistake them
for blood clots.
It is difficult to pray
inside an unfinished church:
A welder goes about
the way one gathers
his ironies before prayer.
The sound he makes becomes too
shredded it could be the sound of
metal screaming for mercy. At the back
a woman stretches her hand
like a five o' clock shadow. Something
holy stands frozen in time. Say pray
for us. She lights a candle.
When the fire went out, she is
pressed back into the dark. The last time
I was asked to write
something for the Lord, I ended up
worshipping my own silence.
There is a sin a knee
could no longer carry. I am sorry.
Forgiveness is a room
with a door left ajar.
inside that room.
I know my chances will expand
like an earthy bough, I know
one of them will break
at the welcome of confession.
Perhaps hell is for those
who used the wrong adjectives.
A churchman opens a window,
pours out a summer's worth of light—
see it fall between the pews like sand
between one's fingers. Here
where there is no light, anything
that shines will feel like a judgement.
Tell me how can one hold a prayer
the way an empty hand can hold
so much waiting. Tell me how can one
not weep in the shadow of a gospel
and see the light where it is aimed at.
Somewhere down here
there is a worn down piano
that never doubts
the hand that plays it.
It could be me.
Perhaps at the worst end
of having a choice
is the consequence of guilt. Perhaps
this is how things should have ended: us
raising an amen
to our lips.
Enter my stasis: hands groping in the dark
Yet cannot grab nor call for help. My fingers
Are meshed by frozen teardrops, my feet do not
Trust the floor below. Such kingdom I have made,
Enough to put their walls to shame. I have everything:
Between the fortune and the fame, I stand. All the world’s
Marvels come here and do not come out. You can check out
Any time you like, a song once said, but you can never leave.
I have everything, but the single thought of you—of not
Having you—has turned them all to ice. I am married
To this arctic cathedral. I sleep beneath the sheets of satin
As cold as the hollow infinite you placed on your lips.
I do not wish to stay, but the wrist is shy at the welcome
Of a blade. At times, I would sling a sentence to the sky
To shake off sunlight from a cloud. But you would come
And tempt me with December’s air. Oh, my sweet despair,
You are the eye in the ice, the sharp drip of a frozen spike
That hangs from my ceiling. Darling, I wish to be unthawed.
A frozen kiss had sealed my lips. I cannot holler for help,
For in the land of the blind, the silent man is lonely.
Wind kisses her hair, then
Her nape would sigh
A soft hello.
Droplets of rain
Running down her skin.
Storms in my eyes, let loose.
This morning, my hand
Caught the first drop of dew.
I think I just held your hand.
And the night
On your morning's tongue