Feel the mediocrity. Feel it.



There are flowers that bloom in darkness—
cool petals, soft in gloom.
Pale, shivering vines, rooted in deep night.
Green that lives in shades of gray.

So does my desire grow—
silence stretched to fullness in muted tones.
So do I long
in the cool shade of your distracted gaze.

Neither passion nor despair heats me here,
nor thin tendrils of hope.
No—I grow
in the tender caress of your shadow.



Written for a friend.

Long day.
And I stand – rigid –
in the narrow expanse of my doorway.
St. Thérèse, framed against my wall,
smiles softly back and – oh –
exultavit spiritus meus in Deo,
my heart scatters like torn
petals floating to the floor.

Such a long day.

The sun, descending, seeps
through silent glass,
sets the shadows long,
softens the splintered
edges of my regret.
Sicut tenebrae eius ita et lumen eius.
I breathe and ache and know
the strange interlace
of joy and sorrow.

Saints, do you look down on me
and remember this
Much done and much yet to do;
no time and too much –
each broken promise stretching across
thin shoulder blades.

Domine, probasti me –
and carry me when I fall,
when I lean against the door
and shiver with all
I could not do.

Et anima mea exspirat in ignes;
I exhale as the sky blushes gold,
and my sighs like incense
into the night.


The Virgin at the Tomb

The shroud sticks.
It sticks,
blood seeps through.
Blood spreads like angry welts,
red on white,
red through white.
Traces all the angles,
all the angles,
of his broken body.
Slack jaw still open.

John and Magdalene clutch each other.
And Mary to the side.
Mother, they ask.
In cracked voices, they ask.
Mother, why do you not cry?

White veil sticking
against the seeping blood.
Slack jaw open.  Screaming.
Silently.  Screaming.
And Mary white-faced at his side.
Mother, why do you not cry?

Mother of Sorrows.
Seven sorrows.
The perfect number.
Seven sorrows, perfect pain.
– red on white –
Mother of the Sorrow
– at his side –
As John and Magdalene cry.

Mother, why do you not?
Sudden shudder,
the whole body through.
She shivers up and down.
And silently.  (Screaming.)
She kisses him through the bloody veil.


At a Window

Written for my sister.

All is sharp and clear and too much
for still-tired eyes.
Too much, as my soul stretches like a song
across gold-red hills
– lingering –
weary-smooth but strong,
like the quiet heartbreak of dawn.

The world glimmers with precious tears,
melting dew,
seems crystal-made.
Bravely, I sorrow with the day,
feel the loss of what I have not yet found.
I sigh and long
to feel the full heat
of my one-day love.

I mourn it now,
as one ahead of it and not before,
the precondition of future joy.
For an empty glass still holds the shape
of what will satisfy, and fill.