For He so loved the world, goes the book,
as if in dying He died our death, crossing
over, not simply into heaven and back,
but into each particular heaven, the icons

of its lakes so like ours, like a mirror
that drinks the lightened fog of breathing,
so that this solitude we learn to bear
keeps slipping forward, terrified as birth,

slipping the way a record needle slips
holding still, or the lover who leans
with closed eyes, or even as we sleep
the endless voice of a distant ocean,

a shush of waves, how they come to rest
again and again, as if we too were
ever departing, arriving, ever the breath
no friend takes for us, taking it away.

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