Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Half Light

I remember the half light of the pantry, 
where I stole packets of cocoa powder 
from people who had been only kind to me,
and would have given them to me if I had asked.

If I had asked? Who knows how to ask? The wind
comes up suddenly from the darkened beach.
It was a weary long time, before I would think to ask.
A life of erratic tacking, whose only through-line

was a desperate desire 
to disappear as I was and to appear as I was not.
No wonder the past now is a flicker, 
and nothing holds still. The light

goes out, and the darkness magnifies, surging
through the windows. Below, the surf beats 
on the drumhead of the beach: the skin
of countless deaths stretched tight, 

bound down
for the resonance. A buzz in my fingertips.
A rhythm caught and lost again. God in my mouth,
as if I did but only chew His name, and in my heart

And in my heart what? Gone before gathered.
Is it wickedness, or virtue, or some third thing?
Learn to ask has been the lesson, the one lesson
I can't learn, may never learn. 

A quiet comes
after the throb of the drum, a breath waits
but can't arrive, you can't take another 
before you release the last. Was it ever simple?

I don't think so. 
I don't remember it ever being simple.
It was harder then than it is now, 
and it's still too hard. Every grain of powder from the packet, 

with fingers and tongue:
and then the empty packet to hide
like a body. But I knew all about hiding things.

No comments: