Note to the Newly Lost


I once met a man who knew everything,
How to dress a deer and change a clutch plate,
And make love in a water bed in the shadow
Of a tripod-mounted machine gun, and
I thought, what is keeping me from knowing
Those things and feeling what God
Has provided (because I had a stronger sense
Of Him then) for us to taste and touch,
Would they be here otherwise? Is it all
Just weeding the strawberries and reading
Aquinas? And I never really decided, I just
Came to find myself in places that filled me,
Like those in the front row, who drop their crutches
And stumble forward, in that moment, a vessel
Of joy and certainty. And I admit to many
Things: dabbling with the odd sin among
The seven, trammeling the unseen in my
Enthusiasm, but I am a vessel, as well,
And the things I do and the things I feel
Sometimes spill out to the benefit
Of others, and they call this generosity,
Or goodness of spirit, but itís really
Just the excess pebbles
Like those that crow from Aesop puts
Into the jar, and sometimes
One drops into the still water
And rings reach out and someone
Else is elevated for a moment
And this is a new joy, a second-
Hand joy, and thatís how I think
Of it, O my paper boat upon the waters.

Copper Nickel, Winter 2012