Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Futility of Gifts

Moonlight on the barn roof at six a.m., frosty dew on the toes of my black boots. I am mostly broken, mostly riddled, mostly limping. The heart has no thought of its own.

In dreams the dead visit, and in psychedelic prayer space, we can die and be reborn. Blue jays in the hemlocks mock my fear of chainsaws. How else are we sustained in this hash mark of a world.

Poems for pretty girls become pleas to be understood and then - later, in this autumnal darkening, this end of days - a hymn to the One who breathed us and whose breath draws us back. 

The neighbors come over with plans to kill the fox who is killing their chickens and, foxlike, I lie to them about where the den is located and, Seanlike, disable the trap after dark just to be sure. Bittersweet scales dead trees out back. The mute center, the warm billows.

She tells me she is breaking into a thousand pieces, and I fall asleep to the sound of her whimpering in dreams. Paper snowflakes that lasted through spring and summer, harbingers of what's to come. We pile blankets on the bed, quilts and throws, and our bodies grow thinner accordingly.

Breathe me, believe me.

Early October, shivering in morning prayer, clutching the hot coffee mug, letting what wants to come into the light, come into the light. The psychic who predicted my death, who was obviously angry at me for reasons I could not discern, taught me thus the futility of gifts. Drinking coffee with Dad in the hospital, easy in those days because there was a future with which to blot any study of the past.

The blind horse begins to age, and I take over the early hour chores - checking on him, checking on the fence, throwing flakes of hay. Sprigs of lavender in water in a yellow plastic aspirin bottle, lasting longer than one expects. 

For a long time I was ruined by images but at last saw how this was simply a construction of language which I could do or undo at will, which doing or undoing reached all the way to the self, and then ended, as sentences do, and apparently must. 

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