Monday, July 25, 2016

Guanyin in boxwood

for my father

promised compassion in a six-inch carving you
packed home from the South Pacific’s steel blue
waters, ferocious percussive rain, its whooping
            bodhisattva in miniature perceiving dry tears in
wailing, agony in anger, hearing your
ghost without voice in these small hours past
sunset’s yellow gaze through that lattice of
Chinese elms, past twilight’s orphan moonrise over weeping
willow’s nests, & a white trellis trimmed
red to match the house shutters—
                       those windows kept nothing out:
irascible headstrong shriek of the jointer as if
your temper itself trued the edge of morning through
             the router keening through dovetails the
ruckus & destruction that comes with building a
clapboarded Cape Cod house & everything in it—
kept nothing out: walls permeable to apparitions
                       traffic’s whispers a blue
jay’s scolding an AM radio song about going home
a train whistle piercing each blacked-out
night your screams couldn’t
                      penetrate for help—
                                                    Guanyin in boxwood
almost lost amongst ceramics & vases on a shelf in
a hutch you built—
                        I want to say you were heard:
you come back now at a loss for words moon skull-
white above that spruce tree outside my bedroom window an
ambulance ripping along night’s shadow grain—
                       brighten illuminate save

Jack Hayes
© 2016

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