6.26.2015

Haleigh

(jacinth)
Our conversations spin like a coil
around a magnet.
Weather and friends and books
twist among the rest, but

somehow it always comes back to 
Heaven, for us. 


(sapphire, agate, emerald)
Some things we plan to learn in Heaven:
1. Violin for me, accordion for you,
   mandolin for us both.
2. Ballroom dancing.
3. The gospel according to Bartholomew,
   Philip, or Thaddeus.
4. How to ride a pteranodon, because there
   are definitely dinosaurs.


(beryl)
You walked where he walked, and
began to understand more deeply
the inheritance prepared for us.
As always, it is history's illumination 
that unveils tomorrow's beauty;

you pulled the curtain back a little,
called me to look,
hung the reminder of our adoption around
my neck, for me to hold as tightly
as a champion's gold medal.

I will wear it proudly, boasting 
in nothing but my father,
on the glorious day I cross that finish line.


(onyx, carnelian, chrysolite)
Some things we'll remember from Earth:
1. "Trifles," "The Story of an Hour," and other 
   writings we first read together.
2. Murmured Bible discussions
   between classes, instead of homework.
3. Trading long skirts for African travels.
4. The fact that you named my scarf
  "Maher-shalal-hash-baz."


(topaz, chrysoprase)
It's the middle of the night
when it overtakes us again:
the weight of what forever means,
the staggering reality of approaching joy,
the ever-expanding certainty that
keeps our fingers jumping and
our eyes wide open.

We follow Isaiah into the throne room.
We tremble in the thunder of praise
that echoes amidst a thousand 
beating wings—we behold,
we behold, we behold—


(jasper)
I'd known you for a week,
maybe two, but time 
doesn't matter in a friendship
more like sisters, long-lost
for half a childhood,
sibling souls recognizing one another
immediately.

The wrinkled green loveseat didn't ask
to be a simile, but when I said that 
Heaven is truer than Earth, you
thumped it hard, agreeing
with an open palm.
"It's solid, like this," you said.
I laughed.

We had met at the cornerstone;
we were there to stay.


(amethyst)
"From the beginning," you say, "God
set us on something 
that would last."

6.25.2015

Reflections On a Pineapple Field

Today I sat on the crest of a hill
and watched a ramshackle family throw
their throats wide open, a song's raucous and
careless handful in the day's dying light,
while I leaned forward on my knees,
soundless for once.

You weren't there.
Would you have told me why my heart 
flew like a cardinal, then, and 
perched precariously between my teeth? 
Would you have seen the chains on my wrists
or the howl I tucked away quickly, 
quietly, in my back pocket?

I remember your birth 
as the newest strand of spider's silk spun
in a webbed cradle sprawled across
the grass, the springtime budding of green wood
newly grafted to the old oak,
I remember the kind embrace of 
its roots while I watched
you unfold, knees to chest, 
speechless,

the warm bark pressing into my skin
with dreams shaped like paper castles and
cardboard crowns, the iron stove
in your grandmother's kitchen and the 
thick curl of her barley-colored hair 
as she gathered you and 
your little sisters close. 

My own tree is not a tree at all.
We are whirligigs and fungal spores and
rustling vines that wither with the summer, 
generations like migrant birds
blown across the seas,

so when you'd uprooted yourself
and walked the line of the earth's equator
with me, I thought you might—
I thought you might 
understand.

Up on these cold ridges now
the hours are grown thick with night.
Beside me, a katydid laughs like
glass bottles and you are here, blinking
moths from your eyelashes.
In the valleys beneath us, the song 
swells still louder

(I had imagined you forgot
the slow waltz of autumn's fire, the deadly 
lullaby of winter, and me:
but I have traded iron chains for magnolia
and you wear pale honeysuckle
like ballroom gloves,
we bound up our wrists so long ago
to let those flowers grow)

and in the darkness, our family’s
makeshift ties are bloody as roses and
stronger than new wood. 
They are calling us to them, crying
sweet comfort, that we are
gathered from the ends 
of the earth, that we 
belong, that the sun—
the sun in the east
is rising soon. 

6.06.2015

Between

The space between moments
is a dangerous place to find yourself.

For a fraction of a second
you might have traveled in time
or between dimensions:
you take half a breath in the dusty womb
of your childhood house or in
the quivering depths of a city you
don't yet recognize;

you glimpse misty rain falling golden,
slipping viridian off mushrooms
ringed with iridescent blue,
and feel the last booming tremor
of a cloud whale's song

before you're back again, dizzy,
worrying where the next click
on the clock's second-hand might bring you.

Someday, you're afraid,
you'll slip away
and never find your way home,
Rip Van Winkle asleep indefinitely,
Tam Lin minus your Janet,
Persephone with twelve seeds
rattling in your empty stomach.

It's with the weary knowledge
of an old shanachie that you tell me,
The space between moments— 
I think it's where fairies live.

And I—the minutes held linear
and evenly spaced across my hands,
a daylong time traveler going just one way—
wonder what on earth, or under
heaven's reach, you're trying to say.