At Church

Well-aware that religion
spawns wars, I'm up early today

seeking the peace
of something named "god"

in stained glass and old stone.
It's a service for healing.

The weak and the wracked
process to the altar rail for holy oils.

The sick and lame, the deranged
and debilitated, emerge from every corner--

one with Parkinson's, two with violent children,
men with wives who no longer

recognize them, a broken shoulder,
a crumbling jawbone, and cancer survivors

trying to forget the baldness
and the chemicals. They light candles

that nearly set the place afire,
the flames of superstition and faith

smelling of melted wax
and the smoke of old hope.

When the world tips
and nods the nether sea,
sky, rock, and boat thirst
for gravity and love
lost just yesterday
when the boatman dropped an oar.
Lace on the shoulders of the rock,
a silken nemesis steals
the waterfall and sends it out to play
on a small boat pointing downward
where the Styx carries it
like a lost shoe.
The horizon is vertical now
and the waterfall no longer falls
but turns a half-closed eye
on summer, the best of all possible,
caught in the arbor of dark trees.
And the beds of our youth
become the wheel that spins
water-wasted silk into fabric
of cloud and foam, the spray
of AcheronŐs gentle river where
hundreds of pinprick lives populate
the lost shoe that is really a boat.
We are free now, alive and dying,
as if we were grownups,
not elderly children chattering
in improbable tongues, pretending
that life is right side up.
The journey of perilous mirth
in bright plastic raincoats is over,
where the bones ache to roaring,
with Charon at the helm.
Let my sepulcher upend itself
in a watery grave.
Set a coin on my mouth
for safe passage. 
came blundering in today
through rain-battered sills,
shutters banging in the violet night,
and the fists of half-closed clouds
pounding the windows with flung stones
until the street lamps dimmed
and stepped aside for morning.
The house has never been so quiet,
the wardrobes silently shut, the pantry
hugging its shelves of provisions,
the Caithness glass paperweights
on the mantel unmoved. The attic
rooms lean full of dreams, with visions
of roses and emus and yesterday's socks,
of Rothko patches reddening into dawn.

Moon, Shore, Piano
Night swims through Ravel
against the tide of black keys
that don't lie well under the fingers,
the sharps awkwardly
surfacing like hungry fish,
then diving into the coral
of arpeggiated light,
the shimmer and the flicker
colliding in moon-marbled chords.
Bach, a lunar crescent,
a crisp, curved motif
shifting in the wind, lifts
the froth of flow, falling into
the ebb to suck out sand,
to nudge a crab sideways.
Under the rock, mollusks
collect themselves in the echo
of little white shells,
ribbed and chipped.

    © Donna Pucciani 2015