Saturday, October 03, 2009

Reprise: Jane Mead



Concerning That Prayer I Cannot Make

----------------------------------------------------------Jane Mead


Jesus, I am cruelly lonely
and I do not know what I have done
nor do I suspect that you will answer me.

And, what is more, I have spent
these bare months bargaining
with my soul as if I could make her
promise to love me when now it seems
that what I meant when I said "soul"
was that the river reflects
the railway bridge just as the sky
says it should-it speaks that language.

I do not know who you are.

I come here every day
to be beneath this bridge,
to sit beside this river,
so I must have seen the way
the clouds just slide
under the rusty arch-
without snagging on the bolts,
how they are borne along on the dark water-
I must have noticed their fluent speed
and also how that tattered blue T-shirt
remains snagged on the crown
of the mostly sunk dead tree
despite the current's constant pulling.
Yes, somewhere in my mind there must
be the image of a sky blue T-shirt, caught,
and the white islands of ice flying by
and the light clouds flying slowly
under the bridge, though today the river's
fully melted. I must have seen.

But I did not see.

I am not equal to my longing.
Somewhere there should be a place
the exact shape of my emptiness-
there should be a place
responsible for taking one back.
The river, of course, has no mercy-
it just lifts the dead fish
toward the sea.

Of course, of course.

What I meant when I said "soul"
was that there should be a place.

On the far bank the warehouse lights
blink red, then green, and all the yellow
machines with their rusted scoops and lifts
sit under a thin layer of sunny frost.

And look-
my own palm-
there, slowly rocking.
It is my pale palm-
palm where a black pebble
is turning and turning.
Listen-
all you bare trees
burrs
brambles
pile of twigs
red and green lights flashing
muddy bottle shards
shoe half buried-listen

listen, I am holy.

4 comments:

Flash Paper Poetry said...

I so love Jane Mead- I had a workshop with her once, she is marvelous.

Nick said...

I'd love to hear her read this particular poem.

Pearl said...

lovely poem.

Nick said...

Thanks, Pearl, for dropping by.