Poetry - November, 2005


The question is one of ashes and dust

It is not my name, which you have already
inked into one interminable book or the other. Also,
not what virtue I’ve claimed to store up

in two unrelenting fists. Also, not the hands
which wrap around them, these hands
from which I feed, strong though they are,

but defiled. On the Eve of the End of it All,
it is only this: how my lips catch fire,
how I burn exactly, an effigy in my heart, awful

as an offering. How the darkness blesses its shadow
as the indigent lauds his begging bridge. How like a virgin
I’ve trimmed my wick. How well I can wrestle

your mystery to the ground, Angry Angel.
How I blunt my feathers on the blade of your tooth.
How I bleed like Christ through the white of my dress,

my fingers so steady, so stained.


Poem found

. . . And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst
of the waters” and into the dome God put

the poor, the addicts, the blind and the oppressed.
God put the unsightly sick and the crying young

into the dome and the dry land did not appear.
And God allowed those who favored themselves

born in God’s image to take dominion over
the dome and everything that creeped within it

and made them to walk to and fro above it
in their jumbo planes and in their copy rooms

and in their conference halls. And then
God brooded over the dome and its multitudes

and God saw God’s own likeness in the shattered
tiles and the sweltering heat and the polluted rain.

God saw everything and chose to make it very good.
God held the dome up to the light

like an open locket and in every manner called
the others to look inside and those who saw

rested on that day and those who didn’t
went to and fro and walked up and down

the marsh until the loosened silt gave way
to a void, and darkness covered the faces with deep sleep.