Trilogy of Fire and Breath
The mailbox flares without being consumed.
I walk past, refusing to notice,
keeping on my shoes.
God, the stubborn parent, thwarts my puny heart.
"But this is what I need," I whine,
"Would it kill you to throw me a bone?"
The mailbox burns on, oracle of greatness,
offering too much for my liking.
Your rhododendron calls out to you,
in flickering blue and orange tongue.
Everywhere, the bushes burn like stars,
unnoticed. Hear your name.
The tin can is a fiery crucible of hope
that the homeless man gives for change.
Hear your name. I am. We are.
Slip the skin that cannot house all of us
and stir the wind with your breath.
Your hair blazes with love, licking your face,
ready to catch.
Hear your name. I am. All that Is.
Wake up to a world with your name on it,
answer the burning bell.
Weary of the blathering sheep,
did Moses complain to the bushes,
stuttering out his secret guilt?
The court tongues wag at the Nile's 'gift.'
The ears of the small boy burn, words
tripping over a mother's lie.
In Egypt, snakes are sacred,
admired for their metallic gleam
and pitiless venom. The sun god
beats down slave and master both,
each dynasty a fratricide of vipers.
When Moses runs, no brother calls after,
so what is the echo that rings in his ears?
In the Pharaoh's shoes, he walked the Pharaoh's walk.
His true mother, his wet-nurse, would have been killed
to refuse her breast to the baby sun-god's teeth.
Did the little godlet care?
Moses drags his shadow over rocks, muttering.
The cypress inclines closer. Killing the foreman -
the act of a coward - tossed him off the horns
of the dilemma, changed nothing. The date palm
kindles, containing its combustion.
By the time he returns,
armed with locusts and snakes,
there will be no bloodlust for revenge.
After each curse, he will pray
that it be enough for the sword to pass.
Behind his brother's curled lip,
he will see his own face.
He will grieve his dead son
as his own beloved,
taken without offer,
taken without warning,
taken without need.
The holy spirit is a mystery writer,
composing backwards from the end of time.
No author leaves the resolution to chance,
ties arbitrary knots, or tangles threads at whim,
hoping it will look like something in the end.
No. The first chapter, then the last,
interweaving plotlines in between.
The masterful foreshadowing!
The prophetic details!
She makes it all look easy,
lining up the stars.
In the beginning was the end:
apple of death, the serpentine ego.
In the end will be our beginning:
the snake's tail stopping its mouth;
lions reclining with lambs.
But how do we go from here to there?
In the teeth of the Lion's first crusade,
the tender mother slaughters the child
of her heart's delight. Jews held by siege:
grandparents, teenagers, pregnant wives.
3000 sent by loving hand to the final refuge.
How do we rewrite the darkness of the past?
Inquisition to Holocaust;
conquest to apartheid;
slavery by onerous debt;
starvation by land monopoly;
3000 children trafficked each day.
How do we rewrite the present darkness?
To keep faith is to keep reading,
page by page, word by word,
knowing that the future
has already been written.
What we have done
What we will do
When we look back,
we will gasp at the elegance
of the answer.
All of our diverse wandering,
our heart-rending terrible choices,
will prove to be the straightest line
back to the Source.
Your destiny is burning a hole in your pocket.
Your name rings a bell.