Healing rites

I lift my shaky fingers
against the stains of valor
and masking tartar of stigma;
I drill canals of hope
and bridge steppingstones,
so that you may soften with patience
the sustaining nourishment of grace. I lay mineral linings as cure
cemented with gold and silver,
like pathways through the water
or a wilderness crossing to yonder;
I mold plates to fill neglected spaces
like thresholds in the throat of desire
in order to restore the walls of speech,
thus I account in-deed for the displaced
providing them with shelter and refuge. Then and now I care
here and there I must dare,
into the teeth of life I still stare
without ever yielding to despair;
as the products of time
and the crossing of lines,
the breaths on which life rides
pass through us as fleeting sights. To death I do not surrender
nor to life if ribbed asunder,
I await with many affections
upon the textures of my names,
when in silence, you will grin
though on edge, you still swill,
may you re-member with delight
how I touched your sighs
because I cannot bear the sites
of gaps hungry for healing rites.

for John Jerome
marking Pa Sione Uis
seventieth birthday;
all rights reserved
jione havea ©
Jan 06, 1999