Medea Thinks the Problem Through
I am the windthe vortex, the volley, the rage.
If my knees could bend, I could play
the innocent, prepare the hemlock,
and when the skies withhold rain,
quench his thirst.
If the plague comes,
I could smear his plate with pustules of the dead.
If the river bolts its bank and careens
through the ossuary, I could take advantage
of the panic, then climb a hill and watch
his skull float by.
If I make myself small enough,
I could be descreet. But the wind
swells without boundaries. Nothing stands
against itnot oaks, or palaces,
or the child sucking his thumb.
The hurricane howls its deeds.
When Last We Saw the Stone Saint
When we chased about his skirt,
the bones around our eyes
still grew, and our laughter rang over
the wall, into the hills beyond,
wherethey saidit moves on,
past the solar system, past
the rim of the Milky Way, because
nothingthey said to usis truly lost.
The light is gone from
the abbey garden where he stands.
From our corner we can see
the streak of a shooting star,
but not our saint, though we believe
he still stands there, wrapped in hedges and vines.
When last we walked here, other children
played around his knees. We warned them
to be careful. Stone flaked off
his fingers and his tonsured scalp;
the slate walk before him bulged,
skewed by the oak's roots.
We wait, patient, dreaming
of morning as droughts parch him
and snows seep into cracks.
Soon his legs will stir and burst
the twining twigs. The fingers
of his stony hands, crusted with lichen rust,
will give way and point to where we lie.
As time wheels round again, we'll
find each other. Our laughter,
doubling back, will know us
blowing over the granite walls; our vanished
childhood laughter will fill our vacant
mouths, and he will find us waiting
like morning dew, like cold, gray talc.