of the Ocean
The Dim and the Dark Light. Quiet words as you first put your hand on my head. Sleeping songs for the tunnel over our bed. Broken ground from the first snow when I realized I would let you go. Winter wind and the sound of the train and the heartbreaking telephone ring. These shaking hands are useless to fight your strong and armored ghost. Then, in the darkness steady and great comes the sound of your voice in the middle of the lake. Oh our weak arms and Oh our strong love, the fire inside the dim and the dark light. How I miss your sleeping eyes in the dim and the dark light.
Baby Isabella. We took turns carrying the baby as she moaned, her legs aching. I watched her fill your arms, little heavy body, and I loved you deeply in our complicated way. The ground lay open, waiting (with floating magnolias worn and fading,) for us to stop our dreaming, finally embrace. The little one between us, once and for all, perfect and still.
Tumbleweeds. Black night floods through my eyes like holes in frozen ground. Oh I forget what it feels like to feel strong. So I trace the circle on my arm. Make stiff conversation, you’ve caught me again with knots in my palms and my head full of storms. And you will stay until tumbleweeds tumble by, until the dusk has wings, until my eyes are dry. In the fire that we reap, though some stubborn nights may drown us deep, salted, soaked and blind, we’re not running out of time. And way back when we all were smaller it seems like smiles flowed like water, it makes me wonder what you’d look like saying “this is it,” or with a baby on your hip. So make loose conversation, we won’t get caught again with knots in our palms and our heads full of storms. And you will stay until tumbleweeds tumble by, until the dusk has wings, until my eyes are dry. We’re not running out of time.
Open Owl Face. Gray morning dove of feather and bone, she’s bleeding at the wing and dying for home. It’s a heartbreaking time, everybody knows, to finally be free, and bleeding at the wing. Where comes the line between giving up and trying when your open owl face is oceans away. You’re oceans away. Where has my vessel gone? They’ve stolen it for a boat, and my gray walls have flooded now, look what they’ve done. What I’d give to hold your open owl face, but your long-lidded blinks are oceans away. You’re oceans away.
The Dying Light. When the scar on my hand was a wound, torn open, bleeding loose, you were there to hold in the blood. Your mouth around my hand, I want it there again. And to lie piled in the corner, and to watch the dying light, as the walls cave and cradle us, shutting out the cold cold night. It’s happened before, where out of the ocean, out of the blue, came you. The time has nearly come for you to come again.
Churchbells. Ghost weeping, broken city, buries completely the glory of the sound that we found in our hands and over our bed. But seasons change. What remains in porcelain walls miles from the ground? I am beckoning the sound of church bells to carry me home. Oh church bells, carry me home. Oh church bells. Oh climbing vines. Oh wooden walls. Oh glorious sound.
Words. We sit around tables and watch it go by, drinking our wine, saying ‘nothing changes and nothing ever will.’ You’re leaving tomorrow. I’m leaving tonight. The words are whatever we say. Don’t try to delay, what words are you going to say? That you’re leaving tonight? Then I’m leaving today. Are you leaving tonight? Then I’m leaving today. What words are you going to say? What words am I going to say?
The Light Around Your Legs. Running through the graves, blue roses around our necks. Past the grand stone house where you once held my body up. There I spilled my summer secrets of a car wreck, your bleeding head. There I lay and prayed for all that I might someday say. Lord, do you remember the light around your legs? Then I wrapped your legs around me, filling my belly from the drought. Rosewater and wine spilled in waves from my mouth. Lord, do you remember the light around your legs?
These Days. These days I sing beneath siren screams. These days I only want to sleep and dream. So the battles of evening might retreat with the break of day. So I may wake with shining eyes and cradling arms at my side. The hawk’s cry sounding for miles through the endless wandering pines. But the wind’s blowing ashes through these lonely rotting streets. The sound of my steps buried like a shipwreck, rising ghosts in the strangers I see. These days I sing beneath siren screams. These days I’ve got little to say. What am I losing in these lonely rotting streets? You say you miss me darling, well I miss you too, my sweet.
Quiet Faith. We walked the riverbed, bones of the great whales glowing. Cold wind knotted our hair, whipped down the wood with a gallant glare. I watched the moon ripple and rise as ghosts were filling up your eyes. Slow as the withering tide, quiet as the sparrows cry. By the time I saw your hands they were torn and bleeding red. Reaching fast and fast in vain, you had already turned away. Oh the meadow spotted red, the dusty barn we’d sleep in, the rickety boat we’d row from the cove, the burning of the old woodstove. If I dropped the sturdy wheel to chase the spirits up the hill, would I ever find you? Lord, you know I never do. But I can wait with quiet faith. With quiet faith, yes, I can wait.
Frozen Hands. Your frozen hands, purple and gray, sew lullabies of wild horse’s mane. Your frozen hands comb my morning head of knots and briars and demons from my bed. White bone buries and breaks while blood flows in waves, like waves. And you’re in mine always.