Black Arrow Tonglen

Have the patterns stopped being patterns
or is this something new?

Am I craving repetition and motif while
I cheer the onset of change?

The goose flesh lends a pattern to my skin, which I lug around with me like a favorite sweater. Like a fiddler crab, I am shelled up in it. At night I spread it out and sleep on it. The sky, like old skin, looks tired of stretching itself over the frame. The air is stubborn, full of picky fish bones. You have to pick at the air, most carefully, if you want to breathe it.

I replicate the land with thoughts, streaming
(like fabric spewing out of a big commercial loom.)

It stinks and makes pollution but where
would shameful flesh be without cloth? Ill-defined goals

make it difficult to script these plays. I am
the wobbly table that supports my entire religion.

I rise from prayer, in prayer. I can see that the tiniest details all reek of scripture, holy and encoded within the ratcheting make-work of a creation that cannot seem to stop unfolding. Worry, sharp little digressions, like fish bones in pudding, is self-asserting: Will they have properly placed the blame before they get around to me? Will the cancer of such faithless doldrums feast upon me? Will Christ’s sacrifice be seen to have appeared in a mirror? Could death be a reflection?

Countless archers, all points of life
they all release their sufferings:

the sky fills with it, fills with black arrows.
I magnetize them, draw them all in

—my own pierced flesh transforms into light, shining
purified, the shafts are all sent back

to their quivers, as light.

The fish swim out of the air taking their bones with them and they are gone and nobody knows where. They were last seen on the surface of a street puddle. Their disappearance was a reflection. But everyone is breathing easier, attributing the relief to various causes, including but not limited to the will of God.