Advent XIX

by Obi Martin

Mottled heart my own
these many years
like a piebald lamb
a memento of all things
savory but saved
as unfit for sacrifice.

How can I keep you company?
who wander dutifully every night
where I can’t trace you
with my ear or voice?
And what do you love so?
that you leave me
for after every glimmer of contentment
leaves, you leave again.

I company my heart, my sheep
with voice beguile
them both to sleep

Oh wander oh my mottled one
where stars fall fast
where night is done
Oh wander oh my mottled one
until the dawn
until the sun

Sometimes I lose my voice
to the deep chills of early morning
I who watch and sing now growl
hack phlegm and hum,
gargle, searching
for a resonance not registered.
And yet I’d be content
in dumbness as I am
if silence always sang
another song.

I company my heart, my sheep
with voice beguile
both back to sleep

Wander oh my mottled one
where stars fall fast
where night is done
Wander oh my mottled one
beneath the dark
beneath the sun

Mottled heart not like a lamb
but curling, buckled, cloven, fractured,
broken-hoofed and tooth
both cased in cud and dirt
these nights, these years, this night a ram
come stenching, rolled-eyed-back
with blare haughty, desperate breath

before this shining
forestry of light and call,
this width, this height of music.
And run, outrun, make wind, take haste
to fall into the nearest fold,
a cave, a tremble, cower.
And meet there
whimpering, throbbing, nursing, holy
silence.


Photo by Kenneth Godoy

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