Preparatory Meditations


In this season
Of hollow October light,
Before the eulogy of crickets
Before the time you leave at last,
Count yourself among the blessed
Who still have something to go home to.

Go there,
And look for a communion of lovers’ dreams,
Your hand in his,
Yours hand like a mourning dove’s soft wing.


How many times of an afternoon
Has this room in which we sit
Been like a graceful clearing,
An opening in an orchard
Rich with light and holding
The warm seeds of your dreams?


Sleepless last night, the living creature in me
Mortal and guilty, awake with abstract insight.
Fearing the chronic angers of my house,
I went outside to hear a bell ring in town.

I remember how once I, a boy, now in retrospect,
Rode in the back of my father’s Buick, stunned
By my grandmother’s funeral, by the dirt, prayers.
In the car window, wispy blonde hair like mine.


I browse the pages of a book on Raphael;
She says she’s been to the stations of the cross.
I look at a painting of the holy family.
Her declaration softens the cold,
The sluggishness of another winter’s week.


She, too, must sense a great change,
The April light passing from ridge-to-ridge,
The kernel buds on trees about to burst,
Everyone pointing, starting up at white clouds.


A man and a woman lie on a white bed.
On the bedstead a vase of summer’s white daisies
Placed for her to see when she awakes.
The whole day they walk,
Stop, collect, put things in their pockets.
That night, the stars come back anew.
Happiness is like this they will say,
Praying it lives on in another life.