723 – A Poem

723

The air is cold.
Heavy
with the weight of our crimes.
We are driving out
to the woods.
Suzy is in the backseat with Colin and you
are riding shotgun
next to me at the wheel.
You look roguish. And
I
am desperate for a pardon.

Our bones can feel the layer of snow
that has fallen
and continues to fall. Illuminated
by the headlights it
pirouettes down
covering everything
coaxing with blanketed assurances
the earth
into a steady rhythmic flow
of a persistent coma.

The cabin stands unobtrusive off Route 723
a few miles out-of-town.
Wood, brick and plaster.
Opening the door the smell of roses
perfume out into the night. Becoming lost
in the stillness
trapped
beneath the maples
and the firs.

Getting drunk on the sacramental wine
we took from Colin’s church
with a picture of Cupid stamped
on each bottle
we laugh. The image of
a rector
coming to our minds
pacing through the pews
consumed with worry about how to hide
this naughty
blasphemous oversight
from his good parishioners. But we helped
him. Us saints. Coming to rescue
and secure
the whole case
and relieve his troubled
sinful soul.

“Poor sinners
all of us,” you say.

And Suzy says yes as she hugs you
from behind as you sit
cross-legged on the floor
pulling fibers from the carpet.

In the loft we make love.
Your mouth tastes like fruit gum
wine
and smoke
from the fire we started.
I hear your sadistic whispers
singing to me still
pleading me
on
and you say you can feel the violent
brutality
in my hands as I touch your body.

Colin cooks eggs the next day when we wake
and nails a crucifix
above the mantel. Tells us we should stay
here for a few days. Here miles
out-of-town
on 723. Wait for
it to blow
over.
I go outside to breath in the morning
and walk
in the snow. Through the window
I see Suzy kiss your
cheek. Your face has turned hollow.

Above and below the light of heaven
has turned the world
opaque. Poor sinners. Gallantly seeking harbor
in institutions
ripened for harvest and
burning.
In the frost and ice I sit and say
“Forgive me…”
but I don’t know who I am speaking to
or why.

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4 thoughts on “723 – A Poem

  1. Joseph, this was a wonderful piece. Full of all the things I love about your poetry–its matter of factness–and in that the inividual moment is held up for what it is, precioius yet fleeting. >KB

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