William Van Wert
The trinity recalls itself in a wild
roll-call of buds, enigma of flowers:
the clarion lilies, atop a high-rise
bed of spikes, to look like corn;
the aromatic hyacinths
that take a winter room by storm;
and pruned chrysanthemums
reminding of community.
the churches of a year's neglect,
proclaiming our abandonment
by the risen lord.
another seder of tasteless chicken,
ritual allegiance and promises,
the beasts that make promises.
Sam Kinison is dead, a newlywed.
Who made us look at horror
in all its frontal nudity:
Manson, Libya, Jerry's kids,
and Jesus resurrected, all gone now.
My father lives in Florida,
stooped with double hernia,
his torso shrinking slowly
to voodoo proportions,
stoned with Parkinson's.
His girlfriend of eighty
is blind in one eye,
walks with a cane, not for the floor,
but to probe the places she'll occupy,
a sad pastiche of Errol Flynn.
Her gnarled hips from many falls,
his fingers now arthritic stubs,
metonymies, they sit by the phone
and wait to be called.
Parents left in shopping malls,
emergency rooms and doorsteps
chosen at random. With Alzheimer's,
amnesia, senility. They don't
even know their names.
Upstairs, Camille is dying of cancer.
Her hair falls in shanks
like clumps of sod.
White spit like chalk at the corners
of lips, her voice attached
like a hangnail to throat
and lungs that gargle when she walks.
She who has raised my motherless sons
cannot raise herself.
The look and smell and taste of death
bunches at Easter.
That blood can bleed invisibly
amazes me. Far more than miracles.