Raven Dancer

They call you dark, a phantom,
a hungry ghost laughing at war,
reveling in the gory deaths of thousands.
You show me another face, O raven dancer,
O poet of vision. Your strong hands
do the work of living too,
your dance of death a doorway
that the grave claim only the flesh.
You hold our spirits like spears
sharpened by the words of a poet.

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The Most Important Step

It is not easy to dance with a god:
Spirit condensed to mortal flesh
is frail, a fragile vessel for the fire
that leaps from the heart, leaps
from hill to hill without failing.
A god has no flesh and leaps like fire
light enough to light on a bubble
neither breaking nor bursting.

A god does not mind the edge
of cliffs—no gravity bounds their dancing—
but when they call you
can you remember not to mind?
There is a moment, fragile as foam’s froth
when your foot falls on air
and you don’t yet know if you’re falling
or flying.

And that is the most important step.

The One Who Comes

I. On the Eve of Hurricane Isaac

All day I have heard the wind, tapping at my heart,
     I am coming, I come, I am coming
Trees dance and bow and shiver at his touch, whispering
     He comes, he comes, he comes!
The cicadas wait in silence, their usual chorus stilled under racing clouds
Spiraling over the too-blue sky
I am waiting, feeling his breath in the ghost of rain,
his fingers tangling in my hair, his promise beating on my skin
     I am coming, I come!
Those racing clouds are his messengers, hurrying to ready his path
My heart would fly with them, but I turn
to face into this wind, turn my face up to the promise of rain, to the coming storm.

II. The Storm Arrives

I cannot sleep all night for the beating of my heart.
     I come, I am coming, I come!
His footsteps, dancing spirals on the water’s edge
Spinning, spinning, and the wind flies
From his motion.
     I wait. I am waiting. I wait.
The trees dance a rising madness
Embracing the possibility of destruction
For the certainty of joy.
Have I the courage of trees and earth?
Can I dance, without reservation,
Bending, bending to his hand, even to breaking?
Dare I dance in his wildness
Trusting he will only carve away what I do not need?
I remember obligations and oaths,
The bindings of love and honor and trust,
And I wonder whether a sometimes mad
And always wild
God can honor any boundaries
Or if even asking is an insult.

“Living is a risk,” breathe the leaves
And the wind still beats at my heart.
     I am coming. I come. I am coming.
My feet ache for dancing, my throat strains to sing
I have known him all my life, in every breeze, in every storm.
Who can I trust more?

Let me dance.