Sunday, November 28, 2004

Welcome to the drachenhouse

If you've found your way here, you're very lost. That's alright. Warm your bones and relax a bit; we won't eat you too quickly. It's cold outside tonight. Winter is slithering in through the western mouth of the Columbia River Gorge and my breath finds its ghost in the gathering moonlight.

Celestina just called. She has been weeping. We talked for ten minutes and she told me her stepson is leaving for Iraq the day after tomorrow. She was upset at imagining what might happen to him. I wrote the following poem.
It says it all, I guess. Some of it anyway:

The Nature Of Comfort
For Celestina

Crying is on everyone’s resumé. She calls me because she’s been. Her stepson is shipping out to Iraq in two days. From river to sea to air to sand, all the merry elements will be afforded their due measure, tariffed and extolled by the bootless armies of what we can never know.

Her voice trembles as the hand of fear throttles her words, finds the pulse within her long, pale throat and squeezes the water out. Blood is the absent binder of breath, bone, and the endless believing that boys will become men in the natural order of things, that daughters will be waiting for them to return from places only other boys fall, other names find their incision on stone markers that our bottomless condolences may find the nature of comfort given, not comfort taken, for the losing of one hair of a given son, a brother, a father, one eyelash lost in the duneworn terrors that veil the shame of a nomadic moon.

I am of little comfort, it seems, yet my voice brings hers down to settle in places a swan might see itself passing in midnight pools of pellucid glass. It is enough, sometimes, these shawls of words expressed in the weave of human warmth, that in them there is a sleeve lined with hope for what will bring the morning. We do what we are given to do and give what we are doing to give. These are the small wars of living that dare us do battle with them. Leave the big wars to themselves for they have a way of making reason remembered for being something else.

She will sleep now. I will sleep now. Somewhere in deep sand
we will see the boy trudge, pull heavy bolts of immaterial love halfway across a world so that he might have hiding for his ungirded heart, camouflage for the parts of him that remain invisible even to himself. He will stand in harm’s way and know its true name: animal, man, mother.

Joseph Gallo
November 28, 2004


Blogger kellikat parried...

joseph, i am enchanted by your blog. the look and feel are so sublime. i am disgusted by my generic looking one and too technilogically impaired to improve it. i may spend a lot of time here. hugs

December 07, 2004 11:01 AM  

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