Only the little slice of night between turning
out the light and actual sleep grant some
sense of the reality of your death.
In the Christian world view I am to
celebrate the triumph of your march
from life support to respiratory arrest.
I cut my self on a stained glass tableau:
Your last breath.
I am absent and bleeding.
In that long minute I stood at the altar of your
God, felt his glory,
was awed and tiny, once again receiving
the blessing of cool robes and eloquence.
The divine metaphor, the universal theme.
I succumb to ritual,
finding comfort in the repetition and
completion of the flame melting wax,
the silence and the echoes sanctified,
on my knees in rapturous grief.
Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace.
You were going home, you said
insistent on Tuesday, although that meant
forgoing one last look at the
fruit of your labors. Dear father
the furious vision that drove you
I am compelled to scratch an ancient
symbol in my flesh, compelled
to rethink the cross and
rescue you from martyrdom.
You never loved the holy, always
embraced the dirt on calloused, loving feet,
seduced by human weakness and maddening redemption,
flying in the face of dirty feet and frail desires.
Black crows fly up from the stark fields, an
ocean moves exquisite limbs to embrace
the ragged shore. Here are my feet, my legs,
my hair in the wind, and I know
They say I have your eyes.
Had I shivered at the graveside,
felt the soil, perhaps I would believe.
No. The joke still plays at the
corners of you mouth, your merry eyes
weaving and dancing.
We are walking arm in arm.
You see, you’re still planting tatties,
speaking a lilting truth,
arrogant in the caricature of your own importance.
And even as you are returned to your
Father, dust to dust, so I
come back to you
again and again and again.
I will not build an altar, will not
sanctify your long absence with
blind ritual, will not defame
your church with hollow repetition.
I’ll see your face somewhere and
that stab will jolt me into reverie
because now there is a finite amount of you.
You are contained.
You are released in lonely chimes and
snatches of melody.
It’s too early to predict my redemption.
I cannot purge on loss, cannot ascend
through raw and wrenching
And even as your death carves
knowledge in my face, I remember,
Always anchored to you,
born in the same sun, like you
incapable of following through.
Rejoicing in the impermanence of joy.