Sunday, January 25, 2015

Palos Santos

The ribs are cleverly sprung
knotted to the spine at one end
and clinkered to the sternum at the other:
even when the heart is struggling like a fish
they only sway, at ease,
thinking of the wind on a high ridge
far away.

We are advised to cast a cold eye.
Well, and I do, or do not; the fingers
lay in with the ribs like the good silver
in those joined velvet pockets, and the heartbeat, 
plain beneath,
lifts and lets them fall again;
while the breast laps against 
the side of the upmost finger,

Of what? Why even ask? Of sex
when sex was important of itself, if
you remember that far back;
or of the surgeon's knife,
and a dark blot on a ghostly film;
or of piano keys played cleverly
one idle afternoon, a life or two

Hush. Here is the palo santo oil,
cousin to the frankincense and myrrh;
here is the homely, undyed flannel
(the color that cream used to be);
Here is the eddy of air
where our breaths meet, 
a pinwheel galaxy that unwinds
unseen between us.


Tom said...

I cannot identify what this moved in me, but I'm glad of the experience.

Dale said...

Thank you, Tom!

Dale said...

"Palo Santo" ("Holy stick") is a new world plant of the Torchwood family, kin to the old world frankincense and myrrh, traditionally used for sacred objects by native Central Americans and adopted nowadays for prayer beads and so forth. I'm using its essential oil nowadays in one of my massage oils.

rbarenblat said...

Oh, Dale, this is so beautiful.