“The wisdom that grew out of his suffering opened pitfalls for his wandering feet.”
Zane Grey, from The Mysterious Rider
I don’t know who created me to suffer
why you guided me to a woman and made her reproduce in me
the movement of tides, the salt moon swelling on waves of Gulf.
1983, divorced now, I wake up alone in the middle of the night
shaken by questions that have no answers.
I am made by the God of the Bible in his own image to take twelve steps
into the bathroom
to aim in the dark at a bowl of white porcelain shaped by human hands
in Summit, New Jersey.
But so early this morning I wake up feeling joy like the finest paring of the moon.
The joy of a son whose father has left a curved sword
for no reason by his bed.
Happiness faint but real as light whispered a billion years ago across an empty sea
reaching me now over whitecaps of suburban houses
in a working class neighborhood in Houston.
There is a wind in the chinaberry tree chanting verses from the Bible
about the cedars of Lebanon
about goats giving milk in the desert through undeserving hands.
There are words I wait for all my life
about women wandering at night through an ancient city looking for me alone
moonlight touching their breasts through a cotton blouse!
I am in Houston, Texas in my underwear going out to get the newspaper.
I think you have because I feel a wind with its fingers in my hair.
Moonlight comes inside me and my heart is beating the curved sword straight.
There are voices from the Bible in the treetops and the laughter of young girls going by
in a car!
It is too late.
Joy has found me in my underwear stumbling over the cold lawn to get the newspaper!
Lord God Almighty
if this is your voice broken through limbs of a chinaberry tree into a thousand
if this is your face shining through the treetops
if this body kneeling now in wet grass is your body
Reproduce in me the motion of a chinaberry tree yielding to you on the street!
Blow a wind through me that is laughing and laughing forever!
Leaves like verses from the Bible falling!