It is in the early hours awake,
where time times four
drifts before the alarm set,
that I ask Jesus why I am here
and what I’ve done, which is nothing,
to deserve the desperate way I feel
and how the pain still tears
the soul’s seams faster than I
sew them up and I see
the thin line of beans
fall from the rough, burlap sack
that is my fabric.
Jesus does not answer, because
he is not here—just a thought
a twinkling, a wish for someone
Really, it is because the answer
does not reside in this room,
in laying on a bed’s firm mattress,
but in the walk I take through the dark
down to the river, to the large rock
by the railroad bridge, where the ducks
cozy in the tall grasses, the radio towers’
blinking lights flash in the water
and the only sounds are those of emergency
and air blown through vacant buildings.
I wish to dump this feeling off on “fate,”
on “God’s will,” on—
The rustle of the branches in the oaks,
centuries old, speaks of the wind,
the shift of shadows on the black gleam
that is the river’s tug upon the moon.
Yes. I admit that all this life of mine
derives itself from choice
and consequence assigned by physics,
gravity, from the dead beyond my touch
of whom still I can not quite let go.
How can a person still alive feel so empty,
like a torn coffee sack, beans spilled across the floor
before the workers place them in the roaster,
fire them, crush them add water until they are this river
in the dark, by the old rust falling
from the unpainted steel: rails
unused for years and wooden ties too corrupt
to support much weight.
I mean: first light brushes the sky
and a few cars start their engines,
the ducks emerge from the tall grasses
where their paddle feet counter
the river’s current
and the swallows poke their heads
out of muddy nests under the rusty trestles.
I mean: there is a piece of rose quartz
I tumble in my hand, keep in my pocket,
a talisman to remind me of a remote notion
some call love.