Fading memory is now our little family’s art,
And gravity unwraps the careful packaging of youth;
So let’s meet in serenity, embracing grief and joy,
In the mercy of moments that dawn perpetually.
When you quit pressing weekdays into weeks,
And I stop scraping flotsam into heaps,
We’ll come together in the unmapped dark
And shine our flashlights at the moon.
The young priest cut the outboard engine half a mile from Horseshoe Bay off the Marin Headlands. He had no fishing pole, no crab pots. He spent most Mondays off from his stagnant ministry in this rowboat.
He tipped the engine up and back, put the oars in their locks, let the blades hang in the water. He waited, bow pointed across open water toward old San Francisco. Outside the mouth of the Bay, the barren Farallons called and the immense Pacific offered to take him. The boat drifted dully.
He closed his eyes. His seminary enthusiasm had met polite tolerance. He just couldn’t engage these natives with roots as old as the Bible. Power-Points were useless.
He dumped you; hard. You decorated his smell out of the apartment.
Later, as you chased a rag up and down the new heron-leg stools and along the front of the Uba Tooba counter; as you polished the rubber plant; gave the prayer rug a shake; combed the sand on the end table with a tiny rake; artfully managed not to disturb the bonsai or knock the crystals from advantageous points in the high corners while you dusted;
the edge of the golden gong silently sliced your index finger. A smile of blood slowly formed. Impulsively, you wiped it on the flat brass face. Your missing peace settled on the apartment like warm rain. You struck the gong and your ears echoed the thin roar, shedding voices, dislodging hurtful jibes. You struck again.
You clean weekly, since then, but gong daily. A drop of blood keeps it real. The gong is the color of rich oxblood shoe leather. You see the good place you are in reflected in its face.