Friday, June 23, 2017

The Slow Burn of Familiar Errors

Bereft of sleep - unable to articulate the prayer that insists on a home in my throat - I go out back and plant a shoulder high fir tree near the horses. Worms writhe in cool soil the color of my cut-up hands. In June, the slow burn of familiar errors multiplies. Buttercups, clover, and where last year I started a little riding trail, wild roses, a pair of them. Each face of the church steeple - hazy in the distance - tells a different story. The irises die too fast, the peonies crumble before our eyes . . . Tom asks why I don't ride horses and it's hard to give words to that messy conflagration of penance, love and forgiveness. All afternoon sitting under the apple tree reading Thérèse of Lisieux's Autobiography, hallucinating it was written for me alone, a sort of theological valentine straddling three centuries. After supper I grab a cold Narragansett and head out back. It took Thérèse a year to die, which struck her as a long time to forego consummation, but what can you do? I'm strangling on the word God gave me to give to the weary. Strung by grief between sun and moon, the fatherless man sucks nails from his palms and holds them in his mouth so that nobody will be crucified again. Such beautiful confusion! Such happiness and pain! Such a long - and getting longer - way to fall.

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