When my life whether sound or rotten
hangs trembling in death’s shears, I’ll call
strangers or friends, no matter whom,
children whose names I have forgotten,
to bend across my riddling doom
as flesh puts off its mask of power
and humbled falls to a blind frown
waiting the mystery of rebirth.
Then I will speak at my last hour,
I’ll call, I’ll cry such lightning down
children or strangers well may see
the nodes of all days’ crystals break
and from that split and glittering heap
this morning flash its jewel of grief:
I’ll call the name I do not speak.
This I will do, but now I walk
with my young children where a Christ
of bloom is lifted on each stalk
to draw their thoughtless joy.
I take my cup of sorrow for their sake,
warm the chill wine they cannot share,
silent until my hand shall cup
its own dismantling husk. I stare
as the elms elevate their green
wafers, beyond the sacrifice
of winter to this quickening land,
children and flowers on either hand.