Wednesday, July 12, 2006



All those times I said the key to Heaven

was right there in my dungarees,

that it was in the Bible and

thus we lacked essential devotion,

you never believed me, you turned back

to the white snow light

of the television, your face

nothing like Helen’s, not the font of all

this war, but lovely enough

to want, to see through the beaded curtains

of rain, to finally find

thanks to a search engine

the verse in Deuteronomy proving me

right. That were I ever

crushed or cut or by white fire cauterized,

I could not enter in

to the assembly of the Lord.

That we’d best be

careful. Never mind that I’ve never

been able to make peace

with this idea of the afterlife

I’m told I must

accept. Never mind that it’s eternal

singing we’re promised

and not an atom

of silence, not so much

as a whisper’s worth of radiant repose.

Never you mind, love,

that love’s no more

our lot. That various miseries

like uncertain weather

appear. That a cartoon cloud

tethered to the tonsured

hair of my head

in the mirror’s mild adumbrations

rains and rains.

That there are whole days

I share with

only the crows

mouthing in the grass

for bread

I broke apart and scattered

with my hands.

For that day

I counted this

as work—

I spoke your name to dry chalk

cool in my fist

like a stone

born in a month of shadows.

Through the dead

field behind

the nursing home

I went, seeking

a little speed

through hip-high grass—

a straight line,

a bit of fact like bone

in my throat.

If –.

If you believe

anything I’ve said,

let it be what I said whenever I was silent.


Anonymous said...

amazing poem, Paul.


LKD said...

Here's my belated wow, sir.

Dungarees. Cauterized. Tonsured. Adumbrations. God, words like these make me smile especially when found, all of them, in a single poem.

Dungarees. Geez. From the Hindi: Dungri. Who knew? Not me until just now.

My apologies for this belated wow. As I previous explained, I read your poem, mouthed my wow then went off on a tangent.

Paul said...

Thanks, and no apologies needed, of course.

LBehrendt said...

Wow. Beautiful.

Paul said...