To Berens

Ice road of marsh
Lacing its fingers with tamarack
Didn’t cross my mind
That romanticism
Could so easily freeze
On the treacherous way 
To Berens
Plane of crystal-fall and 
Fallen angels
A sad world
Forgotten in upper forests, reaching
Reaching far into this people’s heart
Ancient souls for ancient trees
We speak the words of Love
Imperfect speech to wounded ears
But they’re grasped and held close
I know it, broken ones, I know it well
Your testament is written down
In the tear pools
Staining pride and pew
And I tell the Savior
Within the tabernacle of my smallness
I suppose it’s all right
If romanticism dies
For their redemption


You are aching
Though you do not know it
You believe He is dying
But He is burning, burning
In the little nun
On her face
In the scorned priest
Laboring beneath the lash 
In the vineyard
It’s true
He smolders in the churches
Gutters between flame and smoke
In the streets
Thus you mock the light
Fading blood-red
Behind the sea
But the remnant—
We hold our breath
Cling to sacred beads
Awaiting the rising
Of dawn
Then you shall see
As you are


Crying for the water
Yes, the misty green
A whale song moaning
In my heart
But no whales in this lake
Only the methodical rush
Across the rocky sands
I dive through the shallows
Eyes open
And hear the almost-silence
Of waves surging above me
Wriggle like a mermaid
My skin pale blue, shimmering
Then the memory of air
Is stronger than the tide
I break into burning sunlight
Sputtering, so alive
A slow crawl
Back to shore
Where I’ll remember
I am no whale
Naked legs and flapping towels
Sprinting across dappled sod
The evergreens grow taller
The cabin is smaller
Yes, I am human
But no longer a child


O Lover mine
Bearing the bleeding wound
Because of me
Your agony 
Has become mine
Tears releasing
To cleanse the blood
As the blood cleanses me
How is it You reach
To touch my face
Though I’ve struck away
Your hand
A thousand times before?
Again, Love loves
In shadow, in stillness
You wait
As you waited 
Among the olives
Then lunar light
Now vigil red
Cold, inhuman company
And I weep
Centuries too late


You grazed on marsh grass
While I prayed on the bale’s crown
Suspended dust upon blue
Was the horizon we shared
Frozen but for a distant combine
Clearing fields of their wealth
And when the others called for you
You did not leave the lowlands
But remained next to me
Though my hand did not hold you 
I have tried to learn your language
Yet you will never know mine
It doesn’t matter
It will never matter
Only that the Giver understands
What I would say into your ear: 
You are indeed my Comfort