Manual Acts

Do this for the remembrance of me.
Starting position: palms flat, parallel,
now bend whole core toward the altar.
Now raise the chalice, arms an upward O,
and follow with my head.
My own private yoga.
Sometimes I see reflected there
a face stretched out across the silver
like some big broad mama without a care in the world,
shining out from the refiner’s fire.
My weekly guilty pleasure:
that woman in the chalice
looking back at me and saying
there you are! like I’ve just been discovered.

Reading my father into Neruda

His hands shook so wildly he could not feed himself,
and as I watched his wife I wondered:
Is it possible to feed someone and not love them?
The love was part of the food.

Something in Neruda made him zigzag around “To Sadness”
(a la tristeza)—
All about black wings and longed-for darkness
Tristeze, necesito/tu ala negro
And wild scissor-lines around “Goodbyes”:
And, newly arrived, I promptly said goodbye…
left everywhere for somewhere else.
de todas partes a otra parte…