From a Balcony Overlooking the Rain Forest
There is much unwritten about the rain forest.
The sky, for instance, where does it say that the stairs
to the clouds begin here in the wound of the rainbow?
Where does it warn that romantics will be egged on here,
encouraged to covet robin eggs and
wrap themselves only in sky?
This blue converts the self-respecting honeybee
from a dancer to a slouch.
Because really, there is no need for its guiding dance.
It is false to believe that unless the dance is done correctly,
the others will not find food for the hive.
Everywhere here is a feast,
Its sweetness unavoidable,
sticky to the point of purple prose;
a stumbling block to the clinician wanting
to stick to the law.
All those elephants William Stafford dogged, urging
us to be truthful, to dig in and spoon out what
blinds us, aren’t necessary here.
Before us sits an enormous bowl of rain-drenched sun.
And out of reverence to the God of the sky,
who is also the Sea God and
the God of the Poor and
the Rich and stars too many to count,
I will be grateful on this sky-stocked morning
for every betrayal, every misconception, every failure,
loss, argument, death & violent awakening
that brought me dumbstruck to these branching arms
and this indigenous sky.
Here I sink into my romantic propensities and indulge them.
To all the if onlys and what ifs, God snaps back and says, “I told you so.”
“You weren’t so wrong.”
“Your desire is warranted.”
“You aren’t a Polly Anna, a cry baby, a whimp.”
Now I know that something in me was being carved out, deepened, widened,
making space for this answer to my inexplicable longing.
Here it is useless to deflect the compliment, the lavished undeserved gift of gratuitous beauty.
One does not crave untasted fruit. Somewhere before I have tasted this.
Not the me of my body but the me passed down through Eve.
This longing is proof that something even grander than this awaits me.
I will lift/levanter/inclinacion my eyes/ojos unto the hills/Colinas,
from whence cometh my help/remediar.
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker/ fabricada of Heaven/ firmament and
Earth/tierra. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep.
Even still, I am aware of death; can I actually stand by your bed,
while you go from living to dying and see beyond your
sad transfiguration - your beautiful face caved to a slack
canvas completely abandoned,
frightened to consider how I might continue on without you,
knowing what happened to you in your last hours
would someday happen to me?
Only I wouldn’t have you to hold me.
Or what if it is me first? I don’t want you to
see me slowly dissolving, unveiled, becoming a caricature.
If only to stand in the arch of this rainbow long enough
to be scored by its colors and carry its mark
wishing you would always see me this way – awestruck with color,
small-waisted, hair blowing, firmly planted in joy,
my brush silenced from making small narcissistic strokes.
They say I was violated.
But was I really?
The reasoning was based on what I said, on what I remembered.
But what had I forgotten?
What had I failed to remember?
Then why have I loved?
And why do I continue to love?
How much more confused about love will I have to be to understand?
And how much credibility will I sacrifice to agree that violence resides in me?
How often am I tempted to hurt the hope before it hurts me?
To pretend I don’t want or need or desire?
Maybe the game with the knife was just a way of grooming
me for what I continue to learn: Blood is not the only evidence of a wound,
this rainbow, for example.