Friday, December 21, 2018

Like Myrrh

It is just bearable, this sweetness that is also pain, or is pain masquerading as sweetness so I'll bear it longer, or perhaps I am just confused but in a harmonious way. When I was young I went for long walks in the forest alone listening to an inner voice that insisted it was me but also clearly wasn't. Waiting by wild crab apple trees with an unloaded gun, so you could tell him after, yes, I hunted, but there was nothing to shoot. When I met you, I was poor and my poverty was identified with cathedrals and other distractions that would eventually unravel. A sentence can be uttered with countless inflections, and thus mean what we mean together coming together, but something else happens when you write it down. How the other's face narrows and tightens, how the object of their study recedes from you. We call it a prayer, this loneliness in aging bodies longing to meet, but really their meeting is a church welcoming refugees, so many and so often that the regular congregants take up their bibles and their sense of order and leave. I did not know where I was going, nor do I know now, though I now know we are not allowed to know, we who keep meeting the Lord in chickadees and violets, and in the one who believes us when we say we have met the Lord, and doesn't ask for proof, or otherwise insist that we market the experience. There is a conflagration in me that you learned to write poems by, even if I don't recognize your odd but beautiful voice. Her sweaters stacked on the bed, remaining there all week, a weighty comfort at our feet while we sleep. Sometimes walking in Northampton I hear Him still, and clasp my hands and kneel, regardless of passersby or what I am wearing. Whatever time is left, do take it. Envelopes divested of letters can still be used to write notes reminding ourselves to buy milk or slice lemons or call our mothers who are sad this Christmas. Meanwhile, late at night drinking tea, my body out of sync with itself and with the world, I think of you, and this slow quiet dance we are enacting in brackets of time and space, and wish for something simpler, or clearer maybe, like the sound of you washing dishes one room over while I put on my boots to feed the horses, or you not looking up from writing when I bring you bread and wine. The dark, it deepens like myrrh.

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