Light Girl

Light Girl

(an aubade
on the occasion of her birthday)

Light girl, listen -
by that noon you were missing
the gloom in heaven at your leaving
(mourning after morning,
or after parting, should we say -
you, then, being almost post partum).
Hid, though, from your recalling
is you’d been born in dawning
but for this:
A quiet voice
(I think it was God’s, though angels circled)
saying, don’t go, sing for us again -
linger just an hour.

Heaven hushed, then,
(Is heaven ever silent? More likely, laughing children –
but I think even they paused play)
except that one still voice saying,
sing your longing just once more -
yes, those wishings: caring, soothing, justice, light;
but sing your other yearnings, too
your sea-sky dreams, church bells, deep golds, crimson,
fogshroud streets, silk lace, rainstorms, kissing.
Your alms of healing are songs to God?
Your joys and passion are just as much,
And just as dear.

Light girl, listen -
I know your brown eyes closed then
all hope held there, grace within
your full lips curved round gentlest notes
and sang, in quiet, as I have heard,
until the last pure, heartfelt tones afloat -
then borne away you were,
into your song itself,
your life and all your yearnings,
ceaseless, daily hymns to God.

Flowers on a path

Morning on summer’s first day
on this overgrown path
leading ever upward,

at the bright yellow
dew laden blossoms
bent cross the path

has broken
twisted and
the branches

as if they could not bear
the bursting-light flowers,

the touch of the world.


A white-dusted woman looks up from sifting circles of
Yellow grain, and husks, and leaves.

In the clicking speech of her people she calls, Ah hello.
Dear God! Your two faces shine before me.

The tallest wipes the sweat from his eyes and says, We are
Elders, come to talk of you, of your belief,
And our own. You see, we are much alike—

Winnowing, wielding a sieve.

The old woman grins up, and sorts into woven baskets
Yellow grain, and stalks, and leaves.

She steps through the white heat to hoe burdens of chaff under
The rich, unfailing black earth.


I remember waking
in afternoon slants of late autumn light
and watching you,
the crimson grapes, plump
in one slender hand
while the other hand
moved over my desk,
the metal dividers
(keys, old boarding passes,
Fast Track statements),
and you stood on nude tiptoe
before walls I’d made
of book and hope;
sharp upright edges you caressed -
undoing so much.