—Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe
Here is my sweetest dream,
Open it, like a music box.
Look, my love, there is still room
Inside for a dream of your own.
Two dreams as one,
Your heart with mine.
One life shared by two souls.
The sweet, gray Tule fog creeps along the cold edges of the ground. It loves the rivers and creeks all winter long. By afternoon, the fog is gone, burnt away by the same sun that it kept hidden from us throughout the morning, like a secret note burned in an ashtray. And where does the fog come from? The earth. The rivers. From the hidden places of this life. And where does it go? To rest in heaven.
The heel of the hand, the axis for a revolving life.
Fingers, all intact, trace the distance
Between this reality and the next.
Knuckles, bent like Judas when he repented,
And scarred. Hand in hand,
We walk between the plowed rows.
Reaching and touching, feeling the way.
Hands touching hands.
On the day of your burial they came for your body with an old horse-drawn hearse. The unpainted wooden wheels creaked down the cobblestone street and the man dressed in black looked neither to the left or the right as he drove the wagon. Only straight ahead. The hooves of the horses made a hollow sound against the street cobbles and echoed against the walls of the gray buildings. You were my own, my dead one, and I followed you to the grave by walking behind the wagon, one hard step at a time. My grief was an army not to be stopped. The general of that army held me when I broke down and fell to my knees. He whispered my name, but nothing else. James. My body heaved with sobs and cries. They threw dirt on your grave and I could not bring myself to look up. There was a throbbing in my temple and I suffered long and hard, far past the end of the funeral. How I ached for you. Then it was night. I was alone in the cemetery, and with my finger I traced your name on the tombstone. I stood again and struggled on as a human being will. Back to the world, back to whatever remains of this horrid life.
In the land where I live, sunrise happens
From behind vast mountains.
Who knows what is going on beyond?
Clouds lined with gold and silver.
A whisper from God
To swing the diamond sword of living
We put our pants on
One leg at a time down here, below,
And those people with a third leg
Are especially blessed.
And so the people gathered in peace at last,
All of us, billions, finally tired of the nonsense.
Under a blood red sunset we held other close, asking,
"Which star are you from? What do you love?"
—James Lee Jobe
—Medusa, with thanks to James Lee Jobe for his fine poems and photos this Saturday morning!
By the way, the latest issue of Ekphrasis, Sacramento's ekphrastic journal edited by Laverne and Carol Frith, is available at www.ekphrasisjournal.com/.
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