Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Wax Angel

In the widow year of the bootleg bible,
seven plagues were worn in the hatbands of devils.
In the fortune cookie of the palsied calendar,
these were read--
fear, death, murder, disease, hate, horror and waste.

In summer, I planted a window box;
in autumn, a stripe of leaves on the sill,
and in winter, the pretty almost-weightless tail of a sleeping beast.

In our bed that November, you left me your bones
and gave your body to the noisy starlings.
Each evening, I wait for them in the dusk--
they assemble and there you are, whole again;
watching me cry over impossible things.

In the widow year of the bootleg bible,
a man selling loosies was killed right there on the public sidewalk.
His killers couldn't see him, and so they felt for him with their hands.
He said he couldn't breathe, but they wouldn't spare him any air,
because he was not a bird, and they were not the wind.

My love, survivor of the funeral year,
I bought you an angel carved from wax,
a pretty thing from a funky little shop before they lost their lease.

I will place her carefully between your ribs
to help you re-make yourself when you return.
Until then, I have my crystals, a Magic 8 Ball, and my Catholic faith,
a mighty fortress against the vagaries of life in your absence.
________


15 comments:

Outlawyer said...

This is wonderful, Shay--a wonderful flow--and terribly poignant--one cannot--I cannot--explicate the quirkiness--and yet it all hangs together and works just beautifully. Thanks. I hope you will feel better soon. K. (Manicddaily)

R.K. Garon said...

Dark...but well written.
ZQ

hedgewitch said...

Yes, you nail the feeling of this year, which just seems to have crumbled to ruins, accelerated like one of those fast-forward, jerky video clips--demons, wax angels, and the things we do to keep love alive. I'm not sure that the avian resurrection here is not more frightening than the rest.

Mama Zen said...

This left me breathless.

Sioux said...

Shay--Do you think that someday, we will be able to celebrate when Shay is named the poet laureate?

I hope so...

Kerry O'Connor said...

This could easily be my favourite of your poems this year. I really like the way you have presented many of your signature themes in a more abstract way. The result is a surreal examination of the human heart, wired straight to the cerebral cortex in a series of vivid images. Excellent work.

Björn Rudberg said...

This really digs down deep into what the year that passed has left inside.. that fortress built to protect.. but maybe just maybe will make it even worse..

my heart's love songs said...

does your Magic 8 Ball lie to you? mine does just often enough that i can't guess if it's telling me the truth or not.

of course i love this poem! i am SO not looking forward to your vacation when you'll be writing every day. my poor little untalented brain just can't take it! (me, jealous? why, whatever do you mean?)

Marian said...

I agree with Kerry... this is like Shay on Parade.
Could a line more apt or more cutting than this one:
"he was not a bird, and they were not the wind."
Indeed. Happy new year, Shay. xo

Daryl said...

wowza ..

Sherry Blue Sky said...

My favorite lines: "He said he couldn't breathe, but they wouldn't spare him any air, because he was not a bird, and they were not the wind." And the crying over impossible things.

grapeling said...

I have insufficient words to express more than, thank you. This is ... ~

Shadow said...

Ahhhhh, I love your choice of weapons.

Lolamouse said...

Wow. What a perfect poem to end the year. Very unsettling, just like this year was.

Cloudia said...

You generate titles enough for wonderful years of books, movies, songs....