Friday, August 31, 2012

Miller's Chapel

"Generally, the age of a cave can't be determined directly because the cave itself is an empty space."
-Oregon Caves tour guide

We populate our blindness
with nervous laughter, shuffle
our feet on unseen ground.

Somewhere a bat discerns
our shapes by listening.
You clutch my hand, moored

to the safe harbor of palms
and fingers as we are asked
to hold a collective breath.

Listen: dark like this presses
on your open eyes, your chest
sings out to it. Your body

contains this absence––all
bodies contain some light-
less core. Beyond the blood

that pulses in our ears: water
drops on stone like pecked
cheeks, wind from the lungs

of cathedrals built by paring
away. The sweat on our palms
could fill a crevice, carve a river,

raise a pillar someplace else
if given time. Bless the empty
spaces we could make––

I let go, and wave goodbye
knowing you cannot see
my hand. Later, driving home,

we hold our breath against
the walls of freeway tunnels
to keep the mountains aloft.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Non Finito I

"Never before had works of art so clearly revealed the process that made them."
Jeremy Angier


When you die, you leave
dishes on the counter
you swore you'd wash

tomorrow. Or is it 'you
had sworn'? Tasks like that
become past tense right

in the middle of things.
For something so definite,
everything is half finished.

I imagine Donatello knew
this, left his works non
––a woman's face,

pensive, praying, perhaps
for hands instead of
the unhewn stumps

he left her; a wrestler,
struggling ankle- and wrist-
deep in the stone slab

of his uncarved opponent––
the suggestive power
of the incomplete.

The crumpled ghosts
of your dirty laundry.
Last song on the stereo, un-

rewound cassette tape
playing six seconds
of static. Not just the dishes.

The dustless circles
on the counter once
we washed them.