There used to be a wish for your return
here in my heart, a craving for your smile
so I could bask in it again, a little while
and know the worthiness for which I yearn—
the love you brought, that taught me to unlearn
all anger, sadness, sense of alien exile
and know a place where we together could beguile
from seeming ashes, embers, constancy of burn.
But so much grief has been, and change,
a certain strangeness I believed could never be
has crept into my unbelief and now seems true:
you would not want this world, so rearranged
by time, which once so cruelly stole you from me,
and now, incredibly, is stealing me from you.
There are those who believe the air
passing into and out of the mind–
air that’s been everywhere–
can happen to heal.
Some say this air is God.
Others believe in water
or fire, or earth. Still others
in powders or oils from plants,
in electronic tides, or laboratory
numbers floating in the blood.
Listening to late-night radio
I hear a healer from China
tell his invisible audience how
to speak to what ails: tell it
you love it, he said.
“I love you,” I told
my leg in the dark,
“I love you, I love you,”
rubbing the eversore muscles,
the knee that unceasingly aches.
Not being Chinese, perhaps I
should have stuck with “Go
and sin no more.” Maybe
pain has made me insincere,
a non-believer in the goodness
of the universe. My leg
did not believe me. Still doesn’t.
Says salvation for a person of
my ways may be to have to limp
unto the last footstep of my days.