Poetry

Blood Memory

On the afternoon I am to meet God,
I cannot raise my eyes. Mediocrity
wills everything to plastic in the room,
even the music on plastic earphones coos
insipid sentiment.

A vase of fuchsias burns,
drips—
crystals fall in rivulets
down, down the blood-blue blossoms.
I know it is forbidden me
to look more than a moment at
this central mystery.

I stare round edges of the room,
periphery of glory, rage
at the pity of it: I am denied
this beauty, have always been
will always be
average plastic mean

God seizes my eyes
to show the face that was
before the men were made:
cold old black eyes pitiless leather face
before the light was light
sealed up for eons in a mountain-fast

My back was aching when
I came to meet with God, and now
the music plucks my aching muscle-strings,
plucks in a spiral whirled into Indian warrior—
my father’s father’s father’s father does not cry out
while we sing the pain

God lounges about
in his gorgeous, negligent power,
pokes his huge, humorous finger
at my red-and-white Marlboro pack—
I laugh and laugh and smoke forever

then Moses sits above me, stone Father
in a stone chair, judging

but I take my eyes back, they are mine.
I see a boy wearing pajamas in his mother’s home,
hair brushed down, a good little boy:
tidy, dutiful, Jewish first-born.

Yes, he says, That’s true. That, too.

and fuchsias weep diamonds just out of view

Ruth Blakeney

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