In an old allegory you would carry A chained alphabet of tokens:
Ankh Badge Cross. Dragon, Engraved figure guarding a hallowed intaglio, Jasper kinema of legendary Mind, Naked omphalos pierced By quills of rhyme or sense, torah-like: unborn Vein of will, xenophile Yearning out of Zero.
Untrusting I court you. Wavering I seek your face, I read That Crusoe's knife Reeked of you, that to defile you The soldier makes the rabbi spit on the torah. "I'll drown my book" says Shakespeare.
Drowned walker, revenant. After my mother fell on her head, she became More than ever your sworn enemy. She spoke Sometimes like a poet or critic of forty years later. Or she spoke of the world as Thersites spoke of the heroes, "I think they have swallowed one another. I Would laugh at that miracle."
You also in the laughter, warrior angel: Your helmet the zodiac, rocket-plumed Your spear the beggar's finger pointing to the mouth Your heel planted on the serpent Formulation Your face a vapor, the wreath of cigarette smoke crowning Bogart as he winces through it.
You not in the words, not even Between the words, but a torsion, A cleavage, a stirring.
You stirring even in the arctic ice, Even at the dark ocean floor, even In the cellular flesh of a stone. Gas. Gossamer. My poker friends Question your presence In a poem by me, passing the magazine One to another.
Not the stone and not the words, you Like a veil over Arthur's headstone, The passage from Proverbs he chose While he was too ill to teach And still well enough to read, I was Beside the master craftsman Delighting him day after day, ever At play in his presence--you
A soothing veil of distraction playing over Dying Arthur playing in the hospital, Thumbing the Bible, fuzzy from medication, Ever courting your presence, And you the prognosis, You in the cough.
Gesturer, when is your spur, your cloud? You in the airport rituals of greeting and parting. Indicter, who is your claimant? Bell at the gate. Spiderweb iron bridge. Cloak, video, aroma, rue, what is your Elected silence, where was your seed?
What is Imagination But your lost child born to give birth to you?
Dire one. Desired one. Savior, sentencer--
Absence, Or presence ever at play: Let those scorn you who never Starved in your dearth. If I Dare to disparage Your harp of shadows I taste Wormwood and motor oil, I pour Ashes on my head. You are the wound. You Be the medicine.