Stumbling Away from the Oracle
The mystic made such promises as this:
It is best to embrace the fever that burns
along with the foresight of a faulty heart.
It is best to lay the body bare
before the stormclouds and the hail.
When the body breaks open
to create its own prayer,
the taste of metal and blood will be a diversion.
So this must be a kind of hymn,
the raking teeth of the wind
scraping the tall grass into song.
Your one act of contrition
to braid the blades into a spear
and lance the wound you call
your heart, its hardened shell,
a husk, the layers down into the damp
where confession waits in a state
of near unfurling. And this must be
a kind of hymn, the way the sun
hums and tilts light into the crevice
of what is born from what was buried.
Your punishment will be the absence
of the voice of god, which once
washed over you like a river.
This silence, too, will be a kind of hymn,
a muffled, incomplete absolution.
* The first line and its repetition were influenced by Doug Ramspeck’s “Wooing” as it appeared in The Pinch 29.1 (Spring 2009).