Issue 14

Poetry: Laura A. Ciraolo

The Breath of God

I cannot feel your breath
upon me alone at night,
in the hours they say people die.

I will die without your
lifesaving breath, your skin inhaled,
sweet smell, a necessary drug.

Air too pure burns breath
burns life as time runs out.

Real time becomes surreal time
as your systems systematically shut down,
as I hold my breath
unable to take it in,
to give away my breath
exchanged for yours.

Every inhalation, exhalation,
are infinite reiterations,
artificially sustained.

I breathe with you
like the machine,
your respirations,
in and out.

I would pour
my every breath into you,
into your lungs, a last
ditch resuscitation
resurrection of faith
in God as my breath
burns prayers in the air

you breathe.

Deep Time

In the walled Paradise garden
of Allahabad, City of God,
is a state of mind
a way of being
in the stillness
only by faint rumor,
ruffling leaves
on the tree of knowledge.

Once, right after
it happened,
my ten year old nephew
touched his forehead
to mine in conspiracy:
how it was his fault
his mother died—
if only he had tried
then she would be alive.

Humans tell stories
one to another
parent to child
thousands of years
to those gathered
around burning embers
listening, listening, listening
for a hushed voice
a promise to be made and kept
about redemption.

How I yearn to turn back
the deckled pages,
rewrite the endings,
but I am atomized,
a face covered
with craquelure, a veil
spread thin to the edge.

Instructions for Sending the Rain in Summer

There is the time at dusk when deep orange reds glow behind purple grays
and clouds become outlined with the molten strokes of your brush.

This time is perfect for a soft soaking rain absorbed
into rich soil directed by green leaves to thirsty roots.

Cars parked after the workday ends are washed of their daily dust and toil.
Dinner can be accompanied by the light musical notes of mist and shower.

No watering cans need be filled or dragged about
nor sprinkler systems activated if this method is used.

Light breezes should follow as the clouds move east and out over oceans,
sounds and bays, where boats bob at anchor and sails are furled for the night.

Families and neighbors should sit outside and watch the stars appear
along with slices of the moon waxing or waning like ice in their drinks.

The morning should break cool and crisp as spring water from rocks,
so they can cup their hands and partake to be refreshed when the sun rises,

warming all in its arc until coming to rest on the horizon, the moon transparent
parchment in a still blue sky. Then let the clouds drift in again, shadows over light.