Do you know what I long for most? A sign. Not a star falling in the western sky, trailing smoke like the ash of a thousand letters. Not a black bear where the trail turns suddenly.
Simply a word. Like "quartz." Or "Ashtabula." Any word from a dream in which one needed no ladder to reach the stars.
Nobody reads this poem but it's possible she does. Nobody knows what I look for in the deadfall, muttering to myself the deeper I get. My faith is that the sentences matter because one day I will get them just right and remember the Love of God. "Candle" perhaps, or "fake snow falling in a candle shop," or "out-of-the-way craft fairs in Vermont peddling blown glass to lovers who can't let go the other's hand long enough to hold a beautiful Christmas ornament."
The water of the lakes beside Wisconsin pushes softly over the shore. Summer's lady bugs disappear as winter lengthens its hand-sewn sleeves. I am scared if I write a note it will only be set aside now, which will mean I am set aside, and my sentences barred from grace. Like Chopin I always compose in a state of near desperation.
Until her too-brief tenure, I never believed in forgiveness. Nor saw with such clarity its capacity to heal. How frightened I am of your hands and voice! Yet still dream - sadly, stubbornly - of a small fire for the two of us, against which no darkness or cold can stand.