The two lovers come together in the kitchen,
weary from the day’s travails. They hug,
resting in each other’s arms, but, more importantly,
resting in the web of invisible connections woven
between them from years of being each other’s
consolation, sustenance, unearthed treasure.
Dusk comes, peers into the shadows,
checking out its future home. It settles in his room,
creating both melancholy and peace. The world outside,
oddly enough, takes this as a signal to come alive—
kids screaming at the soccer match down the road,
cars headed home towards dinner,
the light in her eyes glowing with love.
Like a freshly beheaded chicken taking a last run
around the farmyard before its final collapse,
the ex-poet keeps his pen moving, brow furrowed,
hoping against hope for a resurrection of the muse,
for one more descent of beauty wafting down from the heavens.
Her breasts looked back at him through the muslin blouse.
They read his mind, giggled and thanked him
for the compliments, but balked when it got to ‘succulent.’
“Not by you, cowboy,” they replied.
Finding himself swept up in a fit of self-recrimination,
he looks around for someone to accept his apology for breathing,
for taking up his square foot of the earth’s surface.
But ‘sorry’ isn’t enough when what one is sorry about is systemic—
like being deaf, or terminally ill, or who he sees himself to be.
Bones underneath flesh speak out, proclaim my mortality.
Like watching grass grow, but in reverse, I can feel my
hair thinning, imperceptibly heading towards an ancient
version of myself inside—doddering, hunched over my cane,
but eyes sparkling, toothless grin spreading from ear to ear.
When Jack talked, it was an uphill trudge,
scared of ursurping people’s time without their consent,
so even good ideas fell flat. Jill spoke afterward—
endless arabesques tumbling out, signifying nothing—
heedless of the wishes of her captive audience.
‘Two sides of one coin?’ he wonders.
The blind prisoner at Buchenwald was the sole source of hope for
the starving inmates, huddled in corners—consoling them, sharing
what he could of the gift that sightlessness had given him:
his own internal source of light, his own unquenchable
connection with the source of life inside everything.*
Our mother stared out the window,
thoughts too inscrutable to decipher
written on her face—not marring
the slightly faded loveliness there,
but instead giving it a richer, enigmatic hue.
What we wouldn’t give to ask her now
what we were too young to conceive of then—
unable to fathom the depths, the ambiguities of the human heart.
(*see Jacques Lusseyran’s “And There Was Light”)