Honestly—from Eagle
With the windows rolled down
In an F150
Heavenly scenery
Ascending, descending, winding
The Journey
Wasn’t much of a pilgrimage
In terms of sacrifice
Only forty miles in mileage
Morning bourbon on ice
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow riding shotgun
(He had lost, not one, but two wives to an untimely death—the first, Mary, in childbirth along with the precious baby and the second, Frances, to a screaming conflagration)
He tried to save her but could not
Facial scars remained hidden beneath his beard
But there were no numbing scars for the true lover’s heart
Only a bleeding pen
Pain in perpetuity
Had encouraged this trip with his poem
The Cross of Snow
Which he had written eighteen years after Fanny’s horrifying death
And taught me a new word:
Benedight
Which reminded me of the one that I love
Everything reminds me of her
The one whom I adore
The one who walked out the door
The one who is no more
Benedight, yes
I miss her love and light
Anyway
Jack was in the back
Teething on an old boot
Breakfast midway:
Coffee
Two eggs over medium
Sausage
Toast
Flirty waitress flattering
Back on the road
Cinnamony spring air
ME full of despair
I turned to the LORD in prayer
Miles from the Mount of the Holy Cross
Asking for help
Grieving my loss
Under that snowy cross
Fourteen hundred feet tall
Arms wide open
Seven hundred and fifty feet wide
Ready to embrace
I will climb it, I vowed, and touch God’s face
Jack barked
Henry nodded
But the icy crucifix was no longer there
I realized with an empty stare
It had already melted into the Bowl of Tears
This had happened to me once before
Back a number of years
A Cain-like moment
For the godless vagrant and wanderer
I had driven to the Pendleton Street steeple
To find the church without any people
Demolished by a steel ball to rubble
SOLD to the highest bidder
For Judas coins
A big sign: Coming soon!
Condominiums
Maybe I’ll stop at Mother Cabrini tomorrow
She was called to the orphans all around her
I’ll kneel before the statue of Christ
Sip communion wine until I’m dizzy
Guzzle enough to confess it all
To the weary priest
His once bright collar jaundiced by a thousand jittery cigarettes and tick-tocking time
His aging worn out ears stretched by gravity
Elephantine
Death comes for us all
Pulling us ever closer to the ground
Our skin starts to melt like wax
”Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”
And sinned
And sinned again
H. W. dissapeared at the nonexistent cross
The trail had been too much for little Jack and he was sleeping deep, eyes closed tight, whiskers twitching and legs still running, on his cozy doggy bed in the truck, without a care in the damn world and I envied him
(That pup will never worry about his soul or know betrayal or be ripped apart by lost love. He’ll merely bone a bitch whenever and wherever there’s one in heat. Easy. No attachments. No groaning or bemoaning any mishanded yesterdays)
As for me
I can’t do that
I won’t do that
Let this be my statement of faith:
I believe in only one living soulmate
Not a souless fuck-a-thon along the way
For every Adam only Eve
Sometimes
God gives and then He takes away what He has given
I don’t know
In the late afternoon
I took off all of my clothes at Minturn
Immersed my body completely in ice cold water
Came up shouting, ”Glory!”
And masturbated ferociously into the Eagle River
A strange sort of baptism
Life into life
Floating uncontrollably away and away
———————
Andrew Dabar