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Poetry

Both hands of a clock rotate counterclockwise
as I read backwards—you, give, leave, I,  peace.
You gave us peace. You left us peace. You left
us for a little while until you returned, glorified
in an era without aerial shots, prior to montage.
A figurative clock I mentioned is anachronistic.
You said, Peace I leave you. My peace I give you.
Where is a criminal’s memory of your last hour,
quaking midnight of an olive tree in the nerves,
flesh-pit of soil engendered by God, yet son of man
not without yearning? Yes, I visited a nook where
I was birthed, my raw delivery. Read about you
without knowing your love. Peace I leave you.
You left us your serenity
_____________________not as the world gives.
You forgave.
Nothing I do can deliver me from my own folly.
Yet when this basin of hunger pours its shame,
even my blunt senses touch a healing salve—
______ without fragrance or blight,
  ______your pseudo-absence
__________________ is holy presence—
blotted rosettes on a chilled ledge
under linen, seventy-five pounds of aloe, myrrh,
your lungs ninety percent sea, nine percent
Nazareth well water. Who are we
_____________to say what is pure,
this marvelous opening
onto light?


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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