FINDING A NEW RELIGION
In blue light, they take everything
off, pleats and plaid fall to the floor,
windows open to the cold of night,
his hands warm as Sunday,
aching from the miles of minutes
between them, a communion
of the body, grace they need
from each other.
These winter nights are muted hopes,
banked coals in the fireplace,
McCoy Tyner on the stereo.
Who needs the ruthless words of seduction
or the molded clay of false affirmations?
Isn’t it all rumor and ego anyway?
The metal front door lost
its handle years ago, but they
still lock and unlock
as they need to, and the clock
on the mantle directs the moon
through the room faster than ever.
Isn’t it in the parlor of her body
he wants to abide?
Sleep will fall like snow.
The fringe on the mala beads frays
after daily doses of short caresses
and empty, cloudless chants.
They were made for use: utilitarian.
I use that word in my art history class
when I refer to the Minoan clay pots
or the Merovingian fibula.
I know my hands are utilitarian too,
but when I bring them together to pray,
they become purely ornamental.
I’ve asked for so many things.
I’ve begged for the newsprint
of the day to announce something,
anything else. Black and white, however,
always remains black and white.