Basket Song (2005)

All myself is sown and spread
Across the neon year;
Integrity scattered far
And brokenness held near.

Hairline cracks and fractious thoughts;
Fissures begin to lace.
Splinters left in lover’s lips,
Bits lost in each embrace.

This is how I sow the fields,
That my first may be least;
Bits of soul and sprinkled blood:
A Carthaginian peace.

So peace I name it, and so
Are found by Advent bare.
Sunlit season’s harvest raped,
I call it only fair.

Out of seeds, but not of guilt;
Many birds left to feed.
If mercy’s good, blood’s better
To meet the furrow’s need.

Clench violently my eyes,
A blindness I name Faith;
If I hum the right songs hard
It’s near as good as Lethe.

In such vestments traveling,
My wake is unobserved.
The blasted fields’ bastard crop
Feeds just the carrion bird.

Each wan bud and twisted shoot
A blind attempt at grace;
Misled obedience or
Myopic, misplaced praise.

These broken hermeneutics,
As equal to the Gospel
As love, to masturbation.

By December bare am I,
And all my seeds are spent.
Furrowed concrete heeds it not,
Nor marks the way I went.

My progress has been charted
By emaciation;
Every mile a pound of flesh
And worship, flagellation.

Between the birds, the weeds and
Masochistic doctrine,
Naught remains but stony heart
And stumbling skeleton.

On cracking fibulas, so
Few steps in me remain.
Fossils left in salted fields,
The rattling refrain

Marks my last and desperate search.
One final hope exists:
To find an inn without a room
While yet my heart persists.

With minutes left till dying,
I reach the stable door.
It’s just as I remember;
My remnants hit the floor.

With a last and fading sigh
I turn my head and gaze
On my passing’s evidence,
The loss that marked my ways.

To my failing sight’s surprise
The furrowed field lies fallow.
No trailing wreckage of a man,
No wake unto my hallow.

Where the trail of pieces lay
A basket sits instead;
As I reach with bony hands
It’s understood I’m dead.

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