For every living creature born of the various gods
are the vertical bars that keep us
from taking off towards heaven.
You want to be a rampant lion in the valley,
but we are broken bits of shell
starved and scoured by sand.
You can almost see the quiet,
the sounds of vessels being emptied.
Lock the gate gently against it.
Avoid going insane from isolation.
This is dangerous.
Sister, do you wake in the night
The pattern of veins on a petal,
the moon a sliver of bone,
sweet dianthus, silver lily in the roadside ditch.
Worn weary over your dreams,
you find bliss in the place where leaf
fuses to stalk.
When you were a child,
our mother gave you a silver chain
to protect you when you dove
There is no completely new story;
the answer is always yes and no.
We are afloat in a world
that will soon tear the veils off us all.
People, dust, stars, oceans come to being,
end. My hair blows back, my fortune says:
avoid windy days, the spiritual life,
The depths are bright with the souls of the burning;
because of these, light spreads across the earth.
Our beaks are sanctified with blossoming olive.
Will we remain open to all of this, or simply stop?
I have been made ecstatic by the shape of the river,
infinity turned sideways. There is nothing I can buy
I took a picture of all of this so we won't forget.
The wind makes bitter wine on the bare plain,
trails icy thorns in this country of glass.
We hang from the geography by our teeth,
embrace the careful symmetry of mindfulness,
metaphors for the last stars,
nocturnal and askew.
Facing down the divine logos,
I see my own emptiness.
Closing my eyes,
I enter the old mother-place of refuge.
It is no longer alien to us,
this world of ivory and rain.
Here we bare surfaces more vulnerable
than flesh, drink without perceiving the
bitter medicines, drink deeply
and are fed for the benefit of fire.
Remember us to the saints,
those rare and glowing jewels
we can never wear again.
Sister, save yourself from this city's fate,
gone missing in a space too vast for words.
these walls have fallen into ruin.
Copyright © 2005 Nancy Henry