Our secret gestures, Madonna, elude us.
Flummoxed, we fly back into the alcoves of our selves
shielding our crystal hearts from recurrent speech
& fingers clutching at throats
turn gibbets to squeeze your eyes to burning stares—
Madonna, though seasons have forged lessons
on how the heart must fare, eyeteeth bare
the diamond wreck of doves & sage
the primitive landscape of desires you dare not escape—
closing behind you doors of death
that open to that child in the corner
licking her wounds, combing her hair
recoiling from all human touch:
“I am most incendiary; Noli Me Tangere!”
Thus words trap our common speechlessness:
Why exile old memory of suns? Why crust
of snow should settle in all seasons of rhyme?
Rain breaks everywhere, Madonna,
but there is light in this certain town!
Fingers thrust into gargoyles of sparks
tremors of our hearts like sails windtugged
drifting through spaces of imagined pain—
corsairs of fancy striking about the air
with veteran rapierthrusts
slashing schools of sharks
And most of all, Madonna,
dolphins of passion that ever will contruct
Our lost primeval ark.
From Gin & Tonic, 1976