Bandages of the Beast
There were many random omens.
Sending olive branches with thorns was
only one of your repertoire.
You offered me a book
where all the answers lay encoded in
some strange dialect.
Symbols undulating like serpents restless for food.
If I was windborne as a lambent seed you
would still the air
and I would fall into the thicket.
If I yearned for sweet water
you would pass me the bitter cup.
If I was an injured fawn you would flush me
from the cloister, corner me against cold stone,
and admire my fear.
Everywhere I steer I seek the one look of love;
yet love humbles itself like a mannequin
changing its clothes to accommodate the dressmaker.
Underneath there are bandages of the beast.
Underneath there is the tourniquet of deliverance.
But beneath the shell there is emptiness, so defiant
it is clothed in finery that neither
dressmaker nor beast can touch.
You have mistaken my search as my soul.
Raking through it for clumps of wisdom,
you have found only what I have lost to you.
Held like rootless dreams
I will vanish in your touch.
If you pass your rake over this emptiness
you will feel clumps of my spirit.
You will find me like tiny pieces of mirror broken
apart yet still collected in one spot.
Still staring ever skyward.
Still reflecting one mosaic image.
Still the accompanist of myself.
When I see your face I know you are half mine
separated by the utmost care to remember all of you.
When I undress my body I see that I am half yours
blurred by sudden flight that leaves
the eye wondering what angels carved in their hearts
to remind them so vividly of their home.
When I see your beauty I know you are half mine
never to be held in a polished mirror
knowing the faithful hunger of our soul.
When I watch your eyes I know they are half mine
tracing a trajectory where sensual virtue is the very spine of us.
When I hold your hand I know it is half mine
wintered in kinship, it circles tenderness
beneath the moon and well of water when the feast is done.
When I kiss your lips I know they are half mine
sent by God's genealogy to uncover us
in the delicious cauldron of our united breath.
When I hear you cry I know your loneliness is half mine
so deep the interior that we are lost outside
yearning to give ourselves away
like a promise made before the asking.
And when I look to your past I know it is half mine
running to the choke cherry trees
invisible to the entire universe we found ourselves
laughing in sudden flight
eyeing the carved initials in our hearts.
Sparing the trees.