Again, I see him as I turn
on the stairs this darkening Ash Wednesday.
Exhausted, I won’t last forty more days
rooted in this terrace of fire.
This fate because I do not hope.
open a season of fasting and prayer.
This morning, a white dusting of snow.
This afternoon, black dust that we are,
and to which we will all return,
for those who still need a reminder.
You were sitting just two rows ahead
at the poetry reading, listening so intently
that you didn’t notice your sweater slipped
off your shoulder. I noticed. Soft skin
perfumed by a sonnet made of air.
He has a map of scars that
leads to no treasure or even destinations.
All paths lead back to the source,
like every river that escapes from where
it all began – where the bleeding started.
If it comes in that cold way,
it will be swift, with little time
to prepare. Perhaps a blessing not knowing.
Still, I will light two candles tonight,
though it is too late to warn.
“One, if by land, and two, if by sea” was used by Henry W. Longfellow in his poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride. ” It was a reference to the secret signal orchestrated by Revere during his historic ride from Boston to Concord on the verge of American Revolutionary War. The signal was meant to alert patriots about the route the British troops chose to advance to Concord. Two lanterns meant they took the shorter route by water, leaving less time for the patriots to react.