I tell you nothing you would like to know.
You are selfish and God Condemned.
I will build you gallows and erect stocks
outside this church, which is my own,
the holes for your head and hands are yours.
I will call you Hannah and exorcise
demons from your lascivious body.
Try to sin then.
At a late age love entered
this life. I learned to love. One woman
before the next. My childhood friend,
the one with horses, loved men and died
in Shreveport having asked that his body
be cremated once his lover had said
a sermon over his corpse, which he did,
after which fire consumed what I had known
to be friend.
I told the girl who babysat
we would marry, I was three. Twenty years
later her sister; then Grandma’s neighbor
Rikki, with her slim, illumined being
embodied in flesh I would go a thousand
long miles to be more than words to her
before I ascended; and through the time
I was given by God and no one else
save my mother, I was always Cathleen’s.
I go back to the water where life abounds.
There, witness a cloud luring from above
the rain a drop at a time to send down,
curtaining the water walkers staying
near the river’s edge, in their white sheets wet.
I do not know the name of the river
in whose waters all are baptized.
I know only the names of each beauty
on earth I never forget for God’s Sake.
(29 October--29 November 2010)