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Paul Marfil Aug 2018
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.
Paul Marfil Aug 2018
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
                              joining iron

                                 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.

                                                    You are
         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.

           You are...     

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.
Paul Marfil Aug 2017
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.
Paul Marfil Jun 2017
Wind kisses her hair, then
Her nape would sigh
A soft hello.
Paul Marfil Jun 2017
Droplets of rain
Running down her skin.
Storms in my eyes, let loose.
Paul Marfil Jun 2017
This morning, my hand
Caught the first drop of dew.
I think I just held your hand.
Paul Marfil Feb 2017
When you
Can't sleep
And the night
Feels like
Bitter wax
Slowly dripping
On your morning's tongue
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