Our Mutual Home

You could see everything from up there, atop those 14 piles of books: my entire known universe bordered to the top by Mary herself, her veil trailing in gold, her hand giving a hint of the future and where I’d go. The fresh-cut or frosted football field–Father Sorin with his stole of snow–the old priests and the underclassmen hurrying in pairs through the pines, either from the heat or the cold and nothing in between. Everything important, in that old cross-shaped section of campus. Sacred. Every foot. And that was home.

While you were off advising presidents and fighting for civil rights, I was squatting by the two egg-shaped lakes named after two popular saints, feeding the ducks. Learning to walk. A yellow, waddling dot on the map, a pin in the battle plan. Two feet two. Sacred inches. And that was me.

Now I’m bigger and too long away. I long to be home in the grotto’s glow, with a candle lit for you in my hand. To sit in a pew and pretend I’m good. To try to pray when I don’t believe.

I want the chipmunks chattering along the gravel road across the street, past my first bedroom window. I want to hear my feet hit up and down on the grasses where I learned to run.

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Maybe Somewhere Like Montana We Can Be Together

And every night you’ll make us a fire

that the slapping-cold air can’t tire

no matter how hard it tries.

The pinprick stars will shine

on the face of your guitar

as the strings sing

and tremble

and rise. And then there’ll just be

a rough kind warm hand at my shoulder

tucking me in with the lyrics of a song

still on my tongue.

campfire-guitar

Worry

I could conjure a moment to set off

into the cloud of life alone,

just as you might put my moods

down at my feet like a stack of books

and sigh with the heavy relief

on some selected night.

But as for me, I will rearrange

my library.

And as long as my hands can

work in a garden, there will be roses

on one shelf. I know that about myself.

For though it may not be

a diamond,

I will still be able

to cradle the moon

in the small palms

that used to hold your cheek.

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