September 1, 2015

Joseph Fasano

EROS

And then I am permitted to think of it:
the evening I carried my then-wife
not into our house, but out of it,
lifted the starved harp of her body
from the floor where it had lain itself down,
refusing, unloosing
no, singing
this is the way it is
with affliction.
I did not want to leave her, all that winter,
in that weighted place, the old
house, the cold
ghosts in her orchards.
I did not want to love her as the world had.
Listen, I slurred to her,
Just listen.
But who among us
would not have wanted
to give in? Who among us
has not stood, as my wife
did, over the tired ice
of our childhood in its first
dream and sang,
Take me down, O
now, cursed
mercy, take me down
into the waters of my heaviness, my little mittened
fingers in my
father’s, take me now
to the country in this
country, the garden where the martyrs pardon
love. Take me O take me
O take me.
And when I did it, when I barged in
and lifted her, the starved harp
of her body in my tired
arms, it was not
art, not David
with his instrument, nor she
as she strummed me with her stunned
fists; it was not hymn
when I carried her to our parked
car, when she gave in
and I slid her
into pleather, that changed place we were driven
to be whole again, its iron
and its marred parts and its power:
Take them, leave
them, stranger,
these marred parts that I give now
to their winters, this instrument
where the wind will sing
its riches, where what rust
may come, what lilacs climb
in fire, this singing through the dark harp
of the body, this wild god
giving everything, O
everything, this singing
that its soul can’t hope
we’ll carry, nor we
that it might lift, might carry ours.

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015

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Joseph Fasano: “I suppose this poem arrived, like the force its title names, to attempt to teach me that surrender of and to the right things can be a healing empowerment, an inheritance of the world’s music, which is loss and gain at once.” (website)