No one is glad
except the quiet men in the sacred graves.
Sunlight cowers in the cold,
wearing her best white dress,
a book in one translucent hand.
You hold yourself out
to the possibility of communion
with whatever there is,
your only prophets
Before this moment
slides away from your mind,
before the wind
drags this fallen petal
home to God,
you will see that, once,
you could have had anything
you ever dreamed.
This Book Of Scars
This is the place where the evidence is broken,
where you recover your voice
and fall to your sorrowing knees.
Like the East Coast it is a place filled with lies,
loaded with secret kidnappings.
You are a stranger with mysterious wounds
waiting to be opened, tiptoeing the thin wire
between corruption and flaw.
Let’s sing to one another anyway,
about the terrible powers of the body,
oh especially the hips and thigh,
oh especially the palms and tongue.
How some women smell like riverbeds.
This is where you call out your hosannas to the void.
The self is poorly constructed as you can see,
it occasionally splits apart or crumbles.
If your heart must break, then let it break open
and spill out over these hot, pitted streets.
The eyes burn, you close them,
return to your cradle of nightmares,
turn your soft steps back into the night.
For awhile, you leave your tenuous cathedral
of blood and bone, take flight into another dimension
to discern the lower wisdom.
A third body was delivered to the morgue
while we were out looking for Anna.
We passed a big blue truck with hundreds of bags of
some children playing barefoot in an empty street,
a leaning wall of mirrors, many of them broken.
“This” a relief worker said, through tears, “is
Don’t you see? Everyone means well;
this knowledge will never bring you peace.
At night the dead return in voices.
You can hear them talking through her
in her sleep.
2003 Nancy Henry