smiling in a way that would fool no fool,
i gulp cup after cup of your rose-petal tea
anxious to warm the sharp grasp of ice that is creeping across my chest,
rising and falling now like bobbing icebergs that have cleaved from their ancestral homes, turning what was once the definition of intact and unyielding into ragged cliffs whose new identity is unknown beyond wrong.
uh-huh, i say, nodding,
thinking about death again.
Becoming has become ominous.
everything once full of unknown promise tilting, hurtling toward uncertainty in a way that was always true but tinged now with gloom.
the world over holds its breath for our sentencing,
then, after the exhale, returns again to carrying out the small daily business of living,
pulling up socks and fashioning dinner,
unsure if this reckoning bodes Jubilee or the grisly End.
or maybe that’s just me.
our small cares may matter more than ever now,
and how we choose to mark the passing of slow time
beyond how the orchards have been bulldozed and we seem to hear fewer birds this year.
beauty will still matter.
beauty will keep us together through the unspooling.
beauty is a neutral country, all things might belong within it. there is room for joy and sorrow both; both are beautiful.
we are still with each other in the dark now.
somewhere indistinct in the body there is a clutching,
a desperate please-don’t-leave-me-tell-me-now-that-you-already-know-you-will-leave-me,
and wound around it, spiraling upward like pea vines do,
a hopeful Perhaps.
that maybe you will see the thousand shards my being has become and divine coherence from them in a way i too sometimes can,
when the light falls just right across the palm of a lover’s hand
or i am nearby flowers.
i think you’re brave and brilliant, he says from the dark, declining to love me.
and the moment is not unfamiliar.
isn’t it always this way?
an eternal venn diagram of must-can’t, loving-denying, salvation-despair,
the weight of experience but the wisdom of it too—
the divine counterpoise of the universe turned grim, leaving only a fraying thread of possibility for me to tread between Triumph and the Void.
i’ll be reborn again tomorrow, i’m sure
to tread the same circles in the sand, and it will take a while to realize it is the same circle and perhaps when i do there will be an opening between circles this time.
a single thread is still something to follow—like the Polish fairytales where an enchanted ball of yarn unravels before you, showing you the way over mountain ranges and fearful chasms.
no fun being sensitive.
but let it be beautiful.
i’ll try again to abandon my earnest seeking of the Truth;
i’m just trying to be more honest.