Friday, November 16, 2018

Prayer for Claire and Jon and Emily

This is not Chinatown—
and I am not drinking whiskey—
this is a leftover white wine in Harlem
sort of night.

I call my mother,
crying, outside St. Patrick's:
please don't try to fix this can you just listen, I plead
with the woman who taught me problem-solving,
as Italian tourists stare at me

Inside St. Patrick's,
the church is its regular maze of dazzling,
serene brightness.

It, like the small pleasures of finding your own supermarket,
are a call to Eucharist.

I wasn't supposed to spend much money,
but the Mexican sweet bread looks too tantalizing in the Rubbermaid bin,
and it tastes like home
and thanksgiving
so I tear off thick pieces with crumbled icing
while learning my new neighborhood.

Once you re-arrange things,
it’s a wonder that you allowed yourself to exist in the squalor of before.

I hang up the Cranach painting of Adam and Eve,
as a gesture of
delusion or denial,
despair or,
like Eve's gesture,
a return:
placing the apple back on the branch,
placing the picture finally on the wall.

This is a thank you for Emily
and to Jon for reminding me that art can be
(and is often)
made in the midst of loneliness.
This is a thank you to my mother for teaching me to fix things:
that even what is messy can be tidied,
that it is never too late to send Christmas cards, hang photographs,
that even what is broken can be mended.

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