Falling Asleep

The Worship Collective

one shrill saw
comes ripping
through the night:

his sounds like
shredding logs
and hers soft.

she lies with
one eye shut,
one peeking –

a night owl
on watch for
scrambling mice.

And between
their bodies
bedsheets chill

in tensile
air. her breath
leaves the mouth

as droplets
of mist: this
night is cold.

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Aquarium

play of light on submerged rock surface.
the air damp, cold:
we swim through it as a school,
stopping and darting at flickers of light,
eddies of crowd-current.

from a rock perch the otter looks up
lazily, notices its audience for the first time.
the paw comes up, gets licked,
returns.
he goes back to his bored routine:
waits for the bluejeaned man to bring the feed.

Wish

What I want is to lie
with my back on the grass,
staring up at the sky
shifting shape with the clouds,
this vision narrowing
to that small sphere of life
out on 491
on the way up to Boone.

I would watch the water
in worn grooves trickle down
along the carved sides of
a cliff where men cut out
the highway. I want to
toss up dust from the ground,
swish my head among weeds,
smell the mist, pen a poem,

both to see and be seen.

The World is Coming of Age (or:) Tarzan and Jane

I was young and we climbed trees,
pretending the blades of grass
were a rainforest. For a moment
she hung
in
the air,
almost gracefully fluttering
like another leaf spent of energy,
flung outward from the tree.

We did not have cherry blossoms
where I grew up:
only the dried up carcasses
of leaves, brownish and
miscolored, the rain
ironically mixing them into slush
like the burly forearms of
a butterchurning marm;
a sluice of greenless mud.

It was mid-autumn.

Her fall looked fatal to me,
a descension from near-infinite
height, until the childish pretension
faded: the fall would not kill
– only hurt.

Her chin kissed the top of
a protruding root (it was a French
kiss, the root plunging its
tongue with sensual desire
into the red-brown orifice
where chin-meat used to be),
and she was unmaidened,
perforated in that instant.

Our mothers’ wails outdrowned
her own as they escorted
her to: the restroom.

The last glimpse of her
I had was of a
leaf
, birthed out through the undercarriage
of her jaw, the brown
carcass of a stillborn
summer.

An Audience

The cat was orange
and pitiful, its mewling
subdued but sharp.
It led me across the road,
its head twisting back
every few steps to make
sure I followed.

It had patches of hairless
scabs like kneepads
on its hindlegs,
and wandered into the ruins
of an old trailer home.
Reddish planks seemed
hung on strings of insulation,
waiting to fall inward
with the slightest shrug of wind.
The cat perched up on a stump beside
the dying hovel.

The poor thing didn’t ask for help,
but with a widow’s pride
licked its paw as if to say:
this is my home, little man.
it’s not much, but I have
the ruling of it.

I laughed to myself
and walked away,
the cat’s eyes like a king’s
watching my departure with solemnity.

Hypostatic Union

The very thinkings of God,
his own logic.
What pressure it must have been
to have the Maker contained

in walls of light pink flesh!
The thrum of blood pulsing
through tissue, vessels, heart –
every cell infused with Heaven’s

ether. What a mystery!
What new mystery is this?
The king requiring diapers
and breast milk,

a toddler in swaddling clothes.
The smell of myrrh to mask
the retchings of horses, cattle;
evidence of biology all around.

How fortunate the Man
refused to vibrate away, but
instead insisted on living the
contradiction: to have the Maker

contained in walls of light pink
flesh. And 30 some-odd years
later: what a whooshing sound
it must have made as he left

his flesh behind,
lower case t holding
Truth and meat
combined.