Thunder bounces off the frozen river in a halo of rumbles not customary to January. Winter has its watery way with me despite all that must turn to stone. Like the dead buried in her mounds, the river valley holds ashen secrets offered in attrition. I heard the sinner's prayer murmuring in the night wind; it isn't my fault that the syllables get caught up in the ragged branches. This and other lies exposed in the gashes of winter's storm.
My god – the way Chopin waits a little longer to give the notes away! Tonight's hymn lays our dreams discreetly under my pillow. There, there . . . even a moment's sigh in the shape of a yes is enough.
In Springfield, a voice broke my dreams every night at 3 a.m. for 3 months. On the last day of the 3rd month, I shouted: OKAY! FOR THE LOVE OF . . . oh . . . God.
And the voice said “go.”
In Africa, in the 1st hour of the 1st day and every day following for 1 month straight and many months after, the tears from my eyes ran into my mouth and down the sides my neck. No hearable words tossed their benevolent life raft down from the heavens. No manna fed my children. No burning bush kept us warm.
Yet our prayers were buried in the red earth.
And the sacred ibis crowned our efforts to survive.
And the colobus welcomed our arrival with the guttural roll of his throat.
And the Kenyans said: we will help you.
The poetry of existence began here.
after Jonah's song
I left God to his fishes –
a faithful servant wrecked at sea