By Susan Sonde
Lord, pledge all Your juices. I come alone tonight
and solitude narrates what my voice sees
in the klieg lights of December. The earth evolves
under its belt of stars, the milk of stars depleted.
A crust of ice forms over a molten sea and I walk
through the white flames of mist, soft as bread
on this night rinsed with the scent of burning tapers.
Do I shake in these public times, glance too furtively,
aware of exposure’s consequence?
I walk and watch the cars. I do not hold the memory
of love. Love does not moisten my heart. Lord, take me
in Your mouth, raise me up. Kiss my eyes as I lift my
head to the wind, to the arrival of strangers,
a noisome choir. Life, the republic of life,
does not bring me back from the dust of its bosom.
My imperfections deny my worth. Beasts prosper
in the vestibule of night. But You, Lord, pierce the house
of my body. Clasp Your fingers over the torn flesh
of our mutual wound.
A Minor Good
Lord, I feel a gap at my side, a defection.
You have moved from me so shadowly.
I am flawed flesh.
Embroiderer of my name in offal,
empower me. I breathe like a small bird
and sleep won’t come.
My windows are open.
The moon outsoars the roof.
My cache of words
is tenuously connected
to the village of my body.
I wait for tragedy to occur,
as the world is nothing
but an animal’s windpipe.
I tremble under the lamp
of stiffly sinking colors,
troubling the white moths I carry
in my breast. I open my mouth
and release them.
I kiss the eyes of transgressors.
The days that offer themselves to me
contain only a minor good.
Lord, christen my grief with Your tongue.
Raise me up like a banner.
Your rain is my rain: blood in a parallel world.
Susan Sonde’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, The North American Review, Narrative, The Southern Humanities Review, Epoch, The Cumberland Literary Review, and many others. She was a National Poetry Series finalist and her first collection, In the Longboats with Others, received The Capricorn Book Award and was published by New Rivers Press.