Love is not from a distance;
up close and personal, it comes close enough
to pierce us
like an arrow through the heart, a spear.
Can we get the hook out?
Love is the unexpected baby on its way to a stone-cold world.
How did you get in there, so soon?
I will try to love you, and I will often fail.
I feel you hiding in my secret place, moving
like a white swan’s feathers (or maybe black)
brushing up against me, about to take flight
over waters of a vast lake, splashes of yellow against blue,
ripples in growing circles toward the rising sun
too bright to look at directly, creating, consuming . . .
You are not really mine; I borrow you for a time (too short).
I will hold your small hand tightly, sad to think that
maybe after yours grows big enough to break away
–you will forget me–
Love is not from a distance.
Not black letters on a glass screen, texted from a smartphone:
“I love you.”
Love is up close and personal
a mother’s lips against a child’s hot forehead,
her fingertip–with heal-all Mom Spit–
wiping a scraped knee,
mixing bodily fluids:
blood, sweat, tears, and so on . . .
Love is a child’s grown hand
spotted a little from the sun
caressing the cheek of an old mother,
in a white bed stacked with pillows
near a window open to a sunset
orange and green,
velvet royal blue like a cape once worn
to the Renaissance Faire.
Love is kneeling before the Queen
who is guarded by men in tights and ribbons,
holding spikes and discipline and honor.
She sat on her splendent wooden throne,
carved with the two-headed eagle, crest of Spain,
her gold crown encircling red hair, bejeweled, layered
in garments beset with pearls and diamonds–
powerful yet kind, welcoming misfits.
We knelt together–you an elf princess and I a Handmaid
ready to serve, mend, repair, arrange bodices and hair.
Schedules surround the Queen, appointments, visitations,
foreigners bearing gifts like Turkish tea or Russian vodka.
I was her Timekeeper, checking my old pocket watch
–round like a circle
coming back on itself like a red Chinese dragon
eating its tail–
birth, death, and all that lies between
doomed to reset, repeat, re-enter,
yet maybe to replenish–
like the greatest Royal Gesture of love:
God come down from throne indescribable,
gold above a crystal sea and rainbows–
angel, cherubim, creatures with eyes and wings and crowns
which they cast down, singing, worshiping, timeless–
God came down from there–
an omnipotent baby knit together with human genes,
in a secret place inside a woman–
born to pain, walking with us, healing sorrows, lameness, blindness;
hands then spread against a cross of splintery wood,
–nails slicing bloodlines–
and so death passed to resurrection,
breaking the circle or enlarging it forever . . .
Love is not from a distance. Love is Resurrection,
Yeshua baking fish for his followers
–who were radically surprised one morning–
by the Sea of Galilee. Love offered
eternal gifts for all the Peters, Arwens, and Galadriels,
Queens and servants–beggars, bards, and soldiers
dying on far-flung fields
as they watched the sunrise,
caressed by a breeze like eternal Spirit touching their sliced-open face,
blending with their last, too-mortal breath,
before they vaulting skyward.
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