Author's note: This poem was written in May 2008. The electronic document was lost soon after. Thought to have been lost for good, a printed copy was rediscovered recently among miscellaneous papers.
Mary rejoices under sunshine
on a bed of grass
with a daydream,
love of lands
beyond the bondage of clammy flesh and chilly blood,
further than your hasty hands of fellowship can reach,
beseeching her to embark again,
to find, to feel, to follow something as smoky as a spirit,
wreathing a few beautiful souls
ringed in glints of burgundy, cream, and gold.
She is moving. I cannot pretend.
We are sitting at the river listening to the hushing water lapping darkly,
and I can also feel the currents carrying her blood.
Hearts open as they close and close as they open,
so that every breath of life may pass into the streams of our bodies
and the exhaustion of death-breaths may pass from them.
Mary lets her joy-kissed happiness come and go to life.
I hold my breath and stiffen. How stupid.
We linger at the table of our last light meal, an indulgence granted.
Write wonderfully, she says --
with beauty and power and meaning, she says --
but I cannot, do not, want to write the stuff of dreams undreamt,
I say with penitence.
Meanwhile, Mary's face takes light,
soft shapes of consolation, forbidding sobriety.
The trick is to inspire. Inspirare. Inspire.
Even accidental gifts set hearts in motion.