For once I’m not threatening you with desire. It’s something more sacred than that, but also the need to ease my legs out of trousers and walk across the deep, cold desert on my own.
But it is also revenge. Anger like a hard kernel in the fist of my heart. You’ve sculpted my eyes into new shapes, and they are thinner and less forgiving for you.
The words pour out careless, and everything I used to love gets trapped in a vase, gets shipped to the four corners, gets kicked repeatedly until the energy burns out.
But not the ice.
Maybe I’ll forgive me now. Other people’s tolls: Things they took away, loom so big in the sky, but there’s something left behind. Something harder, smaller.
The arc of the pubic bone,
the screech of rest
the air of festivity when you’re free-falling
but can still pick the destination, within a couple leagues, where
you’ll break the earth with these knees, these trusting knuckles. But I’ll tell you something-
something essential died here.
I’ll keep walking.
I can sense loss.
Its in me, in the shape of my wrist as I grasp for understanding.
You’re the man out, but my love is quadruplicated;
this is just the underlying economy.
What’s the trick then?
Eyes under hood:
Keeping the angles small, keeping the elbows in,
a great effort with slick hands to
conserve what can’t be stopped
bleeding through a hole.
I can’t really look straight at the Haiti disaster, or let it in. It seems the heart is asked to do this over and over: To try and encompass all the human groans and turmoil, all that it can bear before bursting.
Each day is this way. It takes years to understand why we count each joy, each christening so carefully. Takes years to know why the moments of laughter, communion, joy, must be noted, felt. When you’re young you think there will be a million of those moments coming.
But they aren’t endless. Beads on a string. Something beautiful to hold onto beneath an avalanche of loss.
If you’re experiencing what I do some days, a swamping of your person under the groan and twist of the human condition, remember the rule of One:
Instead of trying to understand all the people who suffered today, think of just one face, one person, one heart. Send your comfort out to that one. Take care of them. Give them your prayer, your consideration, your love.
This is how a tragedy becomes human, and grows small enough to eventually encompass. This is how we help each other heal.