Ought to be

It would be folly to consider myself
where I ought to be, as if ‘ought’
could glow in your hand
like half-eaten candy thawing
memories under open clouds.

What hubris man to divine
import from earth-bound particles
bouncing among people walking
heads down, the center of it all.

Heavenly bodies revolve
around some other lantern
the same as me, sticky fingers
sweeter from the journey.

Discolored past

The rocks mark the ground
between prospering weeds enriched
by the warmth of a sun surging overhead,
encircling those of us interred
on a planet whose
percussive heartbeat rocks me to sleep.

I sense the presence of wildflowers,
of ants scurrying together in the dirt,
of life — too bountiful to count or name —
thriving in the darkness or
at least out of sight —
I dare not note a difference in perspective.

Photos remain after we pass on
a gentle breeze that thoughtlessly turns
blacks to sepia, discoloring too many memories
otherwise cruelly lost
in darkness
even though the sun shines tomorrow.

Who will?

Who will hear our prayer,
echoing through the empty air
that divides us, an appeal
to something unseen and unseeable,
our invocation lost among nothing?

Who will hear our psalm,
the choir humbly beseeched
by a chorus reverberating with thanks
in its every deliverance before
the entreating congregation?

Who will answer our pleas,
voices searching for seraphic blessing
while some celestial body
of spiritual vitality circles —
words bouncing in the void?

How absurd

The comprehensive volume
ate the details for a reader’s
digestion, its stomach aching for
absolution. How absurd is heaven?
Beyond life — an after life like a river
struggling to find its course while
bemused water fowl refuse
to follow the march to eternity.

The wandering fact
missed the hereafter, forfeiting glory
for eternal restlessness, light
balancing good and evil while
the judge looks bored in black.
What of the crowing girl who murders
a scarecrow? The last straw
dances in fields of gray.

Pinching

I am stuck
at the beginning,
pinching
at rice like
the expectant mother
pausing
out of breath
mid-stair.
The other side is often pregnant.

Intention grows
even in
chilled winds,
germinating while
we fixate elsewhere,
though
I don’t always recognize
its birth.
Tomorrow takes its own word for granted.

Ambition shoves us
forward,
though I wish
I could
stop long enough
to admire
the track, rushing,
stuck at the
start.
Light thaws in its own time.

Just breathe

You look confused, eyes tangled
in bewilderment, unsure what comes
next. Flustered words slowly swim
upstream, tangled in the waterweeds
and obscuring the direction
of the current sweeping
your feet out from underneath.

Breath. Collect your thoughts — they are
but two-cent pieces taking
up space in a piggy bank you had
hoped fattened by now, or full enough
at least for the both of us.
I’ll be here when you’re ready.

In the black

What mystery lives in the black,
those dark corners where light
fears to enter, abandoning
sharp edges for the comfort
of round sides and smooth edges.

The charade may encircle us (eyes
blind the gust of puzzles pointing us
in the wrong direction) binding us
to this place in knots of fear
that only the unrevealed can tie.

I choose to embrace the dark,
the baffling ambivalence that bubbles
when we feel underwater, though
the lake remains half full
whatever lurks beneath.