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A Cycle of Tears

ISSUE:  Summer 1978

1. Black Coral

When I cry the silent tears
an angel comes in the form of a white bull
and puts them in a wine bottle,
In time we know no difference,
all the little pains forgotten,
the needles in the back, the spear
through the cheek, scars on top of scars,
each pain a death.

No light bursts through the crystal
at the end of the black rainbow.

The water is on fire!
The longing for darkness
brings on this rage.
In words I barely understand
you say, “I am midnight,
and I will be wearing a red cape.”

It is so simple.
My eyes sting, now I am blind.

Last night’s dream—the sea again:
swallowing long red waves,
clinging to a grey stone the size of a human.
What is heard?
The manta rises in the mid-day sun;
the giant shadow lingers beneath the boat.
Blue. Blue. Blue. Blue.
The sound of pebbles rolling in the streambed.

The roadsign flashes in the sunlight:
nearby several cars wait,
and the children, dressed in black,
walk toward them. The cars have wings
and painted stars on their doors.
When I arrive a sheet is being
draped over the statue in the plaza,
and the white bull, that playground wanderer,
stands quiet and alone in his pen.

2. Swimming to the Rock

The ocean’s surface is a ceiling of glare.
A friend approaches first, perhaps ten yards away from me.
Through my mask I watch a wave break on the rock.
The white water runs off, and for an instant
the friend is silhouetted against the white effervescence
with the cetacean rock behind.
He is floating—completely still.
Then the scene changes—white gives way to blue,
and I raise my head for air.

3. Goodbye to the Jeweled Curtain

You twist the handkerchief into ashes of rose.
My arms are weightless in the wind—
like the kisses which eventually
settle near a deep bay in a distant land.

White flowers are floating in the wine,
but the glass changes colors as I lift it.

In the other hand is the silent gem
which begins to glow when my eyes close.

You walk into the room with an empty basket
and say, “Let’s pick berries.” I know
they are on the path to the reflecting pool.
The next room is called night vision—
all its lights are red.

4. Reunion

The angled rays of light seem to pierce the stained glass.
You ask why the windows are gray.
The hoarse sound of a car charging up a hill—
dead end.

I sit in a pew and watch the lonely women.
You talk about a canoe filled with fish
you caught but could not give away.
I pass through the crowd holding a white ring.

So it is we all come back to this:
after three estranged years we have found our separate ways
to this place: the cross
on the tower aligned just to the right of the old house.
Of course it is daylight.

Outside, you embrace your son
as if for the first time.


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