Thursday, December 21, 2023


 Backyard Hill

The mystics speak of love obliquely

As one does the recently deceased. 

Gather you around

A black fire 

Flames licking at their caftans

Like the tongues of bad luck cats 

Come closer, they whisper

Eyes like hungry embers

Skeleton fingers to their pale lips

Hush hush  

But you’re having fun playing basketball

Alone on the driveway after school

Pounding the pavement 

With a worn down ball 

Smoothed to membranous thinness

The game clock has ticked down to five

And the next shot is all that matters 

You aren’t ready to sacrifice

Your real imaginaries  

On an altar of abstract mysteries 

Not ready to dwell on the fate 

Of the frost at sunrise

Unprepared for the void

That’s both the heart of the prayer

And its long awaited answer 

For you love is everything 

You ever had to forfeit

Locked away with all the taken:

Love is what’s missing 

So you spend your life shooting

At hoops without nets 

Because when you know the shot’s money

The instant it leaves your fingertips

You don’t need to hear a swish

Meanwhile, mom just got home from work

The hot engine of her used Honda clicking 

In the garage where she’d parked it 

While you were busy fetching your ball

From the bottom of the backyard hill

Which means now the game is over 

And it’s time to put the ball away

So mom can take her after-work nap

Before she heats up the casserole

She’d made on Sunday night 

Tomorrow, the game resumes.

Until then love goes back in its box 

Hidden this time, not taken

Because for you, love is a gift

Best sent wrapped in silence


No comments: