Tag Archives: mortality

From the prayer of forgetting

receipt

From the prayer of forgetting

1
The shapes at the water’s edge
They are not your memories

They are the clothes of the drowned. Forgotten
Because they are no longer needed.

2
After a long walk through life you were tired.
You paused, hand on knee, to rest. It took

A little longer than you thought to catch
Your breath and the trees had been bulldozed

And the spiders had covered you with the silk
Of memory. I came with a single dream’s knife

And cut a slit so you could back out. Later the city
Builders saw the shape standing alone

Like a magnificent cocoon, covered
It with stone and called it a church.

3
Your soul comes to you
Like bees finding their hive

Assembling into shapes almost
Making sense to your eye

Defined by a sweetness it will never taste
And a sting it will not survive.

4
The onomatopoeia of forgot,
Regret. They sound like things

That almost are but aren’t
Solid enough to take steps

Or kneel on stone in prayer.

5
I invalidated a receipt once
By writing a poem on it.

No further exchange was
Necessary or authorized.

Like a cowbird I laid that egg
in the nest of your eyes

And you have raised it
Into something that flies

Away from you, recognizing
Neither of us as its maker.

The man who will die

cloudscape

The man who will die

Some day oh daughter, resting next to me
You will hear the breath of the man

Who will die. One day, not today, you will see
In my eyes finally the glance of a person

Who will not live forever as I saw once
In my father’s gaze, still piercing

But unable to break a veil of loneliness miles
Away where his wife sat up suddenly

Remembering only his name and not
Those of her sons or daughters. As I heard in her

Breath of resignation one day when words
Would not come and the unsayable sentence

Dropped over her head like a hangman’s hood.
But not this breath. Though for several years

I have heard it in my own breathing
Or seen it in the eyes studying me in the depth

Behind the mirror, I will keep these from you
As long as I can. And someday, not today,

When you see them you will say nothing,
Thinking surely you did not hear what you heard

Or saw what you saw. But I will know, though
I will already have begun to forget why.