A Loss So Exquisite
(the old cowboy finds it uncomfortable to sit in a chair)
and when he walks, his limbs form an exquisite denim wishbone.
On horseback, he has built his house a thousand times over – in the valley, on the mesa,
cast out in the middle of desert sand – he is marooned among stretches of pinion pine
in the elbow of a river. Octopus arms and crimson floral hands bend in the wind
before storm clouds gather. His horse’s pointed hooves follow charcoal steers,
their bodies, enormous stains, form dust tornados across acres of cracked golden wheat
across tree branches the color of burnt bone. A silver and icy blue bird’s tail unfolds
on the red rock like a Victorian fan. Under a desert moon, he counts the stars
balanced between Greek constellations and the long shadow of his life.
he is lost, lost in a sweet fantasy of gentleness.
(heaven is different for everyone)
perhaps a pinch of the desert, a cup of sea, or a quart of pine leads to salvation
in the end. Do sanctuaries only complicate a person’s relationship with God?
And what of men once raising their spires from stony rubbles on the backs of myth
knowing many would never see the climax of marble and mortar. These men suffered.
In the desert moonlight and across an ocean, others came upon their cathedrals on dangerous peaks
with turrets like elephants’ toes. Weather built these sanctuaries closer to the sun until the priests came,
shouting sermons from unfinished mounts of stone. The wind swallowed their faith,
their holy words falling on deaf ears of reluctant souls. And when rainy fingers tumble,
does Moses still part red rock, each shard split apart deep beneath a counterfeit sea?
(buried in my glass heart)
and alone on a carpet of dunes by the ocean, I awoke baptized. Shivering from weariness, the apricot streaks of dawn cast shadows
along the tanned ridges of my feet. I waited for the tide to rise. On the edge of a desert sea, it is not the relief of rock beneath my feet
but the crown of the incline and the distance between the ridge and the car that lengthened like a swollen river. When I climb out
of the canyon, my stiff, strong limbs step first one foot, then the other, like a rider without a horse.
I move across the shadow of bronze earth, knowing that I have lived too long without intention.