CHAMBER 23

CHAMBER 23

Spiral

Inside there is something gnawing
with silken jaws and wax teeth.
It holds me still in pureness
like a circle whose middle
is my cage.

While you went away from me
I was ever tightening my circle.
A spiral cut in glass.
A flower’s bloom dropping petals.
A winnowed ball of yarn
spilling color.

I see the inside of your thigh
brilliant in its smoothness,
and I spiral ever closer to your edge.
Paper cut touching I burn
bleeding without pain.
How could I spill so easily
without knowing why?

When I hear your voice
there is no quenching this ache
to hold you.
Like one who draws near and then forgets
the story they came to tell,
I circle you waiting for thread’s tautness
to draw us ever closer
though I know not how.

The final luxury is the kiss
of your boundless heart.
The final beauty so pure
all else limps behind blissfully in your wake.
Drawing from your shadows
the light of saplings
lurking on the forest floor.

If I could unbutton you,
take your dress down
I would see a map of my universe.
A phantom limb, grown from
my body like wings sprouting from a chrysalis
reaches for you.
It is the hand of clarity
desperate for your skin
so powerfully bidden
as though a shimmering block of light
cut from black velvet,
stood before me.
And all I could do was to reach out
and touch it,
not knowing why,
but utterly unafraid.

Soul’s Photograph

Who will find me
in the morning after
the winds rush over the barren body
that once held me like a tree a leaf?
Who will find me
when mercy, tired of smiling,
finally frowns in deep furrows of ancient skin?

Who will find me?
Will it be you?
Perhaps it will be a cold morning
with fresh prints of snow
and children laughing as they
lay down in the arms of angels.
Perhaps it will be a warm evening
when crickets play their music
to the stillness of waiting stars.
Perhaps it will be the light
that draws me away
or some sweet surrender that captures me
in its golden nets.

Who will find me
when I have left and cast
my line in new waters trickling
so near this ocean of sand?
Listen for me when I’m gone.
Listen for me in poems
that were formed with lips mindful of you.
You who will outlast me.
Who linger in the courage I could not find.
You can see me
in these words.
They are the lasting image.
Soul’s photograph.

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