Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Timetable (or, How I Descended into This Mess)


I.
I spend my mornings
cleaning our little kitchen,
toothbrushing gray slime from the secret corners of the drying rack,
rubbing the foot-marked tile with wet cloth,
fishing wet bags of tea that claim to soothe your throat from empty mugs.

I met a woman yesterday
who complained of doing housework, of organizing
and reorganizing shirts and toys and space
and space and toys and shirts
grown into, and outgrown, and worn, and outworn.

I like cleaning.
I don’t mind the feel of gray slime, of tepid tea.
But serving no one—
setting out my love to dry
with plates and scalloped spoons on a bleached white rack
like raw meet between thin bones—
that. That I mind.

II.
My afternoons are spent in third person
trying to explain myself.
Writing is a terrible occupation:

reducing the complexity of flesh
to shadow-figures played against my skull, the beauty
of this awful place in which we live to sounds
symbolized by lines on a plane.
I don’t know how God did it.
How could he bear disappointment
after disappointment,
even of perfection, even of Eden,
seeing what was still behind his eyes,
knowing what had not yet been created—
the could-bes, the not-yets,
the always endless better things?

Nevermind what we did with Creation.
Nevermind what we, the Spoken, did with his words.

III.
I spend my nights attending your shows.
You have a beautiful voice.
Everyone says so. CS Lewis says
part of loving God is being as proud
of our brother’s cathedral as if
we’d drawn up the plans,
mixed up the muddy bricks and
painted the ceilings ourselves.
I didn’t know what that was like, how the hands
of an ungifted man could hover in blessing
over the architect’s head
till I met you.

So I guess at the end of the day
I am afraid—yes, above all else, I think it’s fear—
that I’ve forgotten, permanently, what that was,
that kind of love,
and how it was, the way it breathed
wet air into wet lungs, my heart
having dried too thoroughly on its white rack
to bleed again
for you, for anyone, I fear.