The Tall, Upheaving One
the cypress that I pray to:
it can fly. nothing is a single
species. we’re made of bark, then
avalanche. Orpheus can make us anything,
can make us god’s own door. cypress
or oak or black: to be accepted there,
across the boundary, as when I leave the house
this morning, walking—nothing painful
in my legs. I tell misunderstanding,
“this is our last year together,” then,
I see, just up the street, that planets
are our bodies; their mouths slam through
my wrists. I was a child who practiced
jumping from the top of anything right
into the air. music was a swirl of vines
and leaves that left my throat.
I’m calling. and I’m waiting.
and I’m called to.
this black, the pure unknown which finds its way
exactly like the song you can’t get rid of,
the one I start with now and won’t give up.
the god, obsessed with worship that is memorized,
abiding, until the prayer itself moves inside
out, converts these world of sliding rock to fragrance.
I’m calling and I’m calling and I’m called.
One Ritual I’ve been Asked to Do
this bird: its thread of green spins
healthily right through the tree’s
large taking-in of sun. we’ve been
so wet, so full of movies, and
now a day in which my husband’s
singing about wings before we even have
our breakfast. Sunday, bowl of worship,
curtains spun by tiny bugs 0r birds:
a hummingbird, a sparrow and a raven—
our neighborhood, the guards who hold
the roofs and trees all night. I hope
to re-write walking all the time,
the earth-stemmed family that can map
and cook, imagine transubstantiation:
the shoulder blade, the angel. this bird
appearing just the way gods should: in
flash and speed, another species,
and dependent on what isn’t true:
our joy. we have no instinct for that
pleasure but can make it up. we can.
we’re capable of pushing hard against the dead.
The Swan in the Deck of Fortunes
death: one clear tone through wood.
here’s the apple tree my family left,
which was my childhood. it’s nothing
more than thought. but thought is music—
a wooden flute that is a thought. to pray
for thoughts which then become a language:
a god’s death is, after all, impossible.
the other world loves repetition. its animals
can learn, can grow the feathers and the graceful
necks they need so they can be inspired. one
stick of wood, all air pressed into it, one sound
to memorize. I want to die prepared: I knew this young.
I knew this as a root, hidden, but a voice:
a life spent listening.