The kitchen clock is timelessness, its tick
like rain resuming on the windowpane,
eventually making the driveway slick.
It’s not God’s tears. It’s we who cry in vain.
We buy protective glasses to prepare.
The sun will disappear: total eclipse.
We’ll pack a picnic lunch, head south to stare
at what we hope is not apocalypse.
My mother always said that nature was
her church. I saw religion, or perdition,
in how she picked and savored blackberries.
Strange rejoicing in the human condition.
I wake to your off-key notes. Playing “Ode
to Joy,” I think, again—still practicing
as we, perhaps as gracelessly, get old.
It’s not quite prayer, yet my soul sings.
My father says he’s done with God. Too much
hypocrisy, war, suffering, and hate.
I think he means he misses her, her touch,
her aproned waist, her garden past the gate.
Imagined I’ve glimpsed truth, and more than once:
the hallway light that followed in my parents when
I cried out in the night; the time a pulse
I counted ceased; just now, when words seemed done.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.