the long slow flourish
of silver in the gray sky, the sudden
slash of rain across my face,
and the leaves scrambling on the street:
if I've forgotten the recklessness that matters
then I've forgotten everything.
One painful step, the aching heels,
the flash of pain that runs from hip to calf,
the relief of closing eyes against the light,
so that the pulse knocks once, twice, thrice against the lids.
Leave the brutal soldiers to their work,
leave Nineveh its overlaid, perpetual collapse.
Did I think there was no work for me alone to do?
But it's one stone at a time. This word:
its heft in the hand, its longing
for a throat to call its own.
Cup my hands and let them fill with light,
let the radiance dribble down my chin.
I have forgotten, haven't I? I have.
No matter. Start again.
Straighten up, and the company of ghosts
shuffling at my heels
falls back and falls behind: they can't keep pace
with standing still.
One prayer learned late or early
will make them flinch; and this light,
this rainwashed silver scarf,
is a pledge of other things
soon to be remembered in their turn.