Revelation must be
terrible with no time left
to say goodbye.
Imagine that moment,
staring at the still waters,
with only the brief tremor
of your body to say
you are leaving everything
and everyone you know behind.
Being far from home is hard, but you know,
at least we are all exiled together.
When you open your eyes to the world
you are on your own for
the first time. No one is
even interested in saving you now
and the world steps in
to test the calm fluidity of your body
from moment to moment,
as if it believed you could join
its vibrant dance
of fire and calmness and final stillness.
As if you were meant to be exactly
where you are, as if,
like the dark branch of a desert river
you could flow on without a speck
of guilt and everything
everywhere would still be just as it should be.
As if your place in the world mattered
and the world could
neither speak nor hear the fullness of
its own bitter and beautiful cry
without the deep well
of your body resonating in the echo.
Knowing it takes only
that first, terrible
word to make the circle complete,
revelation must be terrible
knowing you can
never hide your voice again.
River Flow: New and Selected Poems
Photo: Peter Bowers