It had always been her only calling
– parting. Saying goobye,
standing where there is no ground.
Veins filled with undelivered stories,
the heart newly green, loved,
then invariably browning like a creased iris.
It wasn’t what she could imagine,
or what the others used to say.
Love was not some kind of bodiless
“once” — suddenly unliving, or everliving
all packed up in its own Eden.

The kiss no one else could remember
had nothing to do with abstraction,
nothing to do with the air.
The only trick death played
with bodies was all about gravity.
How children weighed nothing
and then all. How birds
collapsed into themselves
instead of ripping that blue gauze.
Even some nights, in winter
had the colour of cement
over reversed skies of snow.

Life didn’t need many ruptures
to win her. She listened
closely to all of its litanies.
It kept on coming,
not falling from heaven, but
directly from the land.
Pollen turned the air into sand,
though no scintillating god ever showed.
Just once a man hung on a cross
with a stomach and a cock,
pierced like a sack of brick-red seeds.

She moved among these mysteries,
absorbed and smiling and sure.
Touching, tasting, measuring,
with the precision of a ritual.
The priests so shaken and so powerless
let her dismantle all their theories.
She saw angels, like unidentifiable moths,
hurl themselves at street lamps
to test the realness of their wings.
Finally her lust for life matched the stars
— ineradicable, hard.

And it wasn’t what she could imagine,
or what the others used to say.
Life stuck to her like a thorn
the more it seemed to vanish
in the mist. She wished
to leave as she entered
—  unnoticed.  No camera,
no exhibitionism in her final room.
The film of her experiments
wound up tight in her, never to be re-run.

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