Tuesday, April 14, 2020

This is the Gentle Purgatory

Lambs bawl in the not quite dawn, stumbling through snow beside their watchful mamas, their date with Easter bullets and meat knives still a little ways off. Rain turns to snow then back and then back yet again. Late February vs. the end of the world else why be so goddamn serious. Three cups of coffee and morning chores and the monastic vows become vivid and elastic only to recede around lunchtime when hunger sets in. Those sweet potatoes aren't going to roast themselves! We are going somewhere (we hid something), but where? The questions we ask are hints of the answers we believe will make us whole by ending questions altogether. There's a corollary somewhere (but where) or am I still confused, like when I was a child and tried to run away with dogs I knew would be shot in the morning? Well, we're all damaged, we're all somewhere between the foot of the mountain and the summit. Some angels blow you, some make you laugh, and some make you feel like you don't have die on a cross every goddamn day. Is it like that then, you and I? I write in the broken rocker, late afternoon, exhausted from reading and teaching, while in the kitchen below me you chop eggplants and peppers and - yes - sweet potatoes. It was always long odds we'd make it to here but make it to here we did. Perhaps dying will be like stepping outside into the light and noticing someone has saddled the horse for you - all that's left is to mount up and ride away. Or did I die a long time ago and this is the gentle purgatory through which you lead me, cry by cry, poem by crappy poem, in this late - and getting later - New England winter.

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