The Woman

for C.

Here you are,
doing things,
fixing the car, the lamp,
earning a living for you
and your son,
slipping under Time’s barbed wire,
a guerilla who came for a life
others thought they owned.
You’re learning to fight
and to love.
You wore toughness
like a see-through shirt.
Now, you see your naked strength.
The knife you gripped between
your teeth, tighter and tighter
each time he came to you,
you drop now into the well
they said was poisoned,
and hear the ancient cry
of the woman waiting there
for the signal.

For Art
The news of your dying
reaches me faster than
the news of your living.
But why complain? So
we didn’t have more time
together, and I hardly
wrote. I reached where
I reached, like you,
only sometimes knowing why.
Is death more mysterious?
Aren’t these days like ashes,
scattered here and there?
Job, family, standing on line —
where it goes is no clearer
to me than where you go now,
free of your body,
as the wind,
dying,
is free of a kite. 

No Other Gods

for C.

“Thou shalt have no other gods
before me,” the first commandment
warns, and so I warn myself,
first thing in the morning,
my face breaking into song
at the sight of you: the
hymn of your hair, its dark
chords, your lips half open,
themselves on the verge of song.
Sleep rises from you,
your breath is wet,
my first kiss winds around
your last dream. I whisper,
“I love you.” My words drop
into the well of the world.
I hear the splash, make my
wish. You open your eyes,
it’s granted.
My joy is a high note.
Too high? I wonder.
A long walk I took,
with my sainthood
for a crutch, and my eye
on love’s horizon. Up the
mountain I went, and kept
going. There you were,
eyes closed, dancing.