Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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History percolates in the face of the bewildered angel
holding a skull under one arm and blowing her apocalyptic
trumpet in the other. There are 40,000 sets of bones in
the shapes of chandeliers, columns, temples. I am thinking
of Jan Hus who used to practice being burned as a martyr,
and whose secret followers I imagine displayed here.
His bones are buried in the wind, his words spoken by
blind stars. None of the bones here remember what bodies
they belong to. It is a hard thing to realize that each of
the bones once loved as we do, and harder even to say it.
Vowels of wind brush across the windows. Hus’s words
and the words of the ground fog are the same words.
Huge snails climb up the sides of the church. The walls
are cracked like old skin. My own words have frayed edges.
Still, I can place you here in one sentence that tries to forget
all this death. There’s a mesh of pine trees trying to capture
some stray light. Here and there a prayer emerges between
inexplicable phrases. None of the bones are listening.
None of the bones remember the hush of insects. With each
death a new day, but the crickets sound the same, the shadows
disappear like yesterday’s shadows. These bones only wanted
to make a difference, not be a part of some grotesque figure.
Hus was burned for saying things not even these bones understand.
There’s a leisurely rain beginning. It doesn’t stop the tiny white
moths that have no idea of their own mortality. It doesn’t stop
the frantic crows from reminding us of our own bones as they
pick at the body of a mole. The light is turning into cobwebs.
The day seems distracted. What memory has in store for us
we never know. There’s a jar of earth here from Golgotha
some Abbot thought (1278) would make this ground sacred.
I am thinking of your own sacred garden. I am thinking of
your robins that rock on the telephone wires like men at prayer.
The air is here mottled with all these dreams. Above me
the swifts write a random history of the soul. Against them,
I put these words for you, a kind of prayer themselves,
a way to redeem the silences these bones announce, something
about the way we live our loves, forever on the verge of believing.    

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