distance

Rana

because I can't touch her
I translate her

her arms and fingers
are the feel of the wind when I walk

the tired sweetness of her voice
is a yellow rose I found in the road

her kisses are the smooth cold
of the mirror against my forehead

and, crying in bed, she's the soft sleep
embracing me in her mercy

Medium

she wakes
to radiant dark
the sound of her name

whispering faceless
bodies without flesh
she's their lost grace

If my spirit wandered
I'd find her bedside
I'd whisper a prayer:

carry me
out of today's city
out of never sleeping

into your moonbeam
your gates of charity
your tearful dream

Washed

woke up from dreams of murder
into tears of the heart and throat,
sobbing into my pillow
on a sleepy, rainy sunday morning
because I'd died, because she was still alive -
she was me, walking home alone, head held high
though washed and wrecked by pain

I remembered my years of forgetting,
of being at war with my own soul -
please god, let that soft touch on my forehead
be the fingertips of the one I love,
invisible, impossible, distanceless -
I'll be crying for everything I ever hoped was true
this joy, this rage, for finally finding you

Reasons Not To Go Home

The city is drunk
and then there's me -
sober, surreal, softly
walking beside the viscid river,
witnessing:
her spangles, white and orange;
her patience, the way she gathers
everything in strange arms
as gifts for the ocean.

I have gifts, in a plastic bag:
a chocolate egg left from Easter.
A copy of Time Magazine.
Stray words in my mind,
which I will write down
because that is how I can stay alive.

My mother gave me the egg.
She wastes nothing, except time.
She never learned how to live
with time, and its gathering
of all the pretty things
to the mercy of their endings.

Alone in my bedroom, I can hear
traffic, voices from the street,
wind sometimes, and if it rains
I will leave my window open
and imagine that I am on a journey
across many miles of water.

I truly have no reason to be here
except that I'm waiting
to feel my lover's hands on my face -
I'm waiting to lie with her
and whisper that I remember her
from a lighter, more gentle place.

One day all the stories of me
will end, like the lights on the river -
maybe borne like funeral candles into the sea,
or maybe disappeared into daylight,
but either way, tenderly, without harm,
no one there to see or be afraid.

For now, I can only be a prayer
in the living darkness,
heard by silent companions,
stilled into the air's memory
even as I am carried without end
from moment to moment. And she
is the prayer that I am, the plea
that I make, the desperate language
that no one ever taught me -
no one ever needed to.