Saturday, May 9, 2020

Thus the Grim Purgatory

The river laps grassy banks near the bend where a swift tumble turns the water white like the way I remember snow. Mist settles in the meadows, not quite reaching half a dozen Canadian geese, whose sleep is fretful and full of rustling. In the 1970s it was either summer or winter, with brief intervals of Halloween and Easter. Continuity in its way was the law. Whatever the adults around me named "religious" was instantly lost in the welter of sound to which I was always consenting to be enchanted by: wind in the crowns of pine forests, crows in the distance, owls in the darkness, muffled sheep blats in the barn, rain falling on cows who didn't mind I was there. Let go of your name and what is left is what you are when at last you meet the Lord. You remind me of that old dance, the one I learned before I learned there was such a thing as "partners." It went on for days and allowed you to believe in resurrected Christs and Heavens full of dead dogs and a love that was greater than all this. Yet the dead calves we buried broke him and his brokenness meant he could not teach me how to heal: thus the grim purgatory I had to write my way out from. "No church, no woman, no way" was always the truth and the light! We are not bereft who travel alone, and anyway, we're not alone. He said so back in the day, and I was a good boy who listened.

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