Ode to Dried Roses, for Michael / Julie Wells


You are everything, my darling, a white cloud flying past
the small airplane window, an amber ring set in sterling silver,
a yellowed book stained with age and dust and thoughts.
Occasionally, you are a two-liter of Sprite, your green plastic
shining against a muggy evening. Most of all, you are the world,
my love, and all its poetry: the psalms and songs and rosary beads
twisted around the wrist of a Catholic, a yarmulke on a Syrian head,
The Bible, all of it, the Torah or Old Testament or Jewish
Holy Book, and also its neighbor in piety, the Christian words
of the New Testament, and also a crucifix on the wall
of a Southern Baptist and a wool cap on an Irishman,
a plastic pencil wedged behind the ear of a mathematician,
the Qur'an, a turban seated next to a Hasidic curl on the subway,
a Korean woman throwing her beads across the street because she
has promised herself she will not curse and she cannot seem
to stop. You are my ancestors' ancestors, their ways and customs
and lines of thought. You are, in fact, a line from a poem
only you could have written, a note from a song only we have ever sung,
a smile from the face of a child we have not conceived yet. Yes,
your beard without moustache, the style you call the Abraham Lincoln,
it is a bleeding heart ripped from a dinosaur centuries ago but somehow
still beating, and your eyes are chocolate frosting whipped quickly
to go atop a cake which is already baking, but you, my dear, you are the sun
which wakes me every morning and the moon I address my Good Night's to
and the earth I will never lose sight of. You are the world, my love, and all its
poetry; you are the feet I stand on, the shoes I wear, and the gravity helping.

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