I’m sorry you must read alone upstairs
and calculate an airplane’s course of flight
while downstairs I scan magazines. Who cares?
You will not dare descend to say goodnight.
I will not dare ascend to say hello.
I will not lose my breath climbing those steps.
I will remain here where my breath comes slow
and where my stomach settles in its depths.
A cautious butterfly leaps up instead –
unheard, unseen, soft felt, a beat of wings
too fragile to exist outside my head.
You sit. I sit and think of many things.
To study flight is noble. Study on.
My flight is over. Now I must be gone.
July 17, 2010
I can no longer tell my muscles, “Move,”
without resistance to that small command.
The sweetest harp cannot completely soothe
my troubled soul. The touch of a warm hand
is kind but leaves fast-cooling skin behind
where once glowed ruddy cheeks and quickend blood.
What warrior strength I had! How sharp my mind
was once – how true an instrument of God!
Now others sing my psalms; my legacy
is tainted by my lust, murder, and pride;
and my body weakens day by day, but He
redeemed the imperfect heart that beats inside.
Even now I know I am wonderfully made.
My Rock is solid though my own strengths fade.
She doesn’t understand this fantasy.
She just read Uncle Arthur as a child.
Her fears speak of lost opportunity
to meet symbolic truth amidst the wild.
Her world is tied for safety to the real
(which really is not safe), a world so round
it shuns foreign dimensions’ strange appeal.
Is this the Christian life—to kiss the ground?
St. Stephen spoke of Moses, but he died
for his vision of heaven. Daniel dreamed
of beasts; she doesn’t shudder—they’re a guide.
She picks one light. How many might have gleamed!
Man cannot know the things God has prepared.
It is through symbols His wide world is bared.
From 2005. For The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
lies that seem so palatable,
I a prince,
revenge like honey
in the pit of my stomach.
Why do I have this warning
in my gut:
Turkish-delight white lies,
blankets over the shivers
when I could go back to summer holidays,
bitterness of a brother
when I should be sweet.
I left your laugh-filled, sometimes scornful face
that cool-light dragged me brilliant-eyed to you
propped on elbows and stomach and the taste
of your words: “Read it again.” What could I do
but feel the rustling flutter take this hand
you never took or wanted, one last sigh
and spark when at the door I saw you stand
and give off laughs for me as a goodbye?
Hard, gemlike dream! I had to close that door
against the whispers rushing up my veins.
Another door stands open, and your roar
is hushed—his “Happy Sabbath” kills your pains.
We smile, half-knowing. Serious joy surrounds
the open doors, and I taste peach-ripe sounds.
A sonnet from 2006 of unrequited affections.
How can I give you up when we just met
mere months ago, when I first found the pull
that leaves my life half-empty and half-full,
the joy that wakened. How can I forget
the evening when we listened, spoke and let
sincerity shine through us? I felt whole;
the minutes in your presence seemed to roll.
Now they have slowed, but I am aching yet
to know how your fingers feel entwined with mine,
to hear your drawl call tenderly my name,
see your eyes flash when they reflect my face,
to ride your chest’s rise and fall as I recline
my heavy head there, and to hear your claim,
a simple sigh speaking with wordless grace.
How do you touch a God whose very Name
cannot be fully spoken, and whose law
you follow, though you cannot brush its ark,
who only lets you see the backside of His glory?
Somehow He longs to cuddle with His children,
a mother hen with feathers overspread.
He hugs the prodigal, welcoming him home,
slings the lost sheep around His shoulders, and calls
us all His bride.
How is the God of Exodus the same
as in the Song of Solomon – I fail
to find the answer chiseled in the stone
or in my body – all I have is faith.