Monday, April 23, 2007

Back Bending

“A life develops in spirals: It always passes through the same points, but at different levels of integration and complexity.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, Critique de la Raison Dialectique, 1960

At 31
adulthood bends me backward
with a flexibility
born of a strong spine
open to fun
stitched to vertebrae
ground with work,
buffered by acceptance,
flowing in joints
connecting me to what happens

My cells gather themselves taller,
brace for mini-me’s needing support
that grow in my imagination
in the space love makes,
illuminating a path toward life
through my belly
even as all of me sees death
coming slowly
and begins the readiness
to say goodbye.

My hands
lining themselves up
itch between the balance
to grasp, to work, to knead,
to let go,
doing each
in turn.

Love arches in my bed,
rolls out in the kitchen,
looking exactly and nothing like
the shadow pictures in my sharp-cornered
childhood room.

Time flattens me
until my understanding
looks like a line
even though it extends
in an infinite plane.

Everywhere I go feels directional from here
although more likely I circle myself,
circumscribed in Sartre's tilting spiral of life –
sometimes climbing up,
often sliding down,
backbending the whole way

as I slinky myself to that cool, calm lake
where life ends
and memory begins –
time’s thickness approaches forever
and I am suspended,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Passover - Lynn Unger

They thought they were safe
that spring night when they daubed
the doorways with sacrificial blood.
To be sure, the angel of death
passed them over, but for what?

Forty years in the desert
without a home without a bed
following new laws to an unknown land.
Easier to have died in Egypt
or stayed there a slave, pretending
there was safety in the old familiar.

But the promise, from those first
naked days outside the garden,
is that there is no safety,
only the terrible blessing
of the journey. You were born
through a doorway marked in blood.
We are, all of us, passed over,
brushed in the night by terrible wings.

Ask that fierce presence,
whose imagination you hold.
God did not promise that we shall live,
but that we might, at last, glimpse the stars,
brilliant in the night sky.