Canticle of Midnights
For James and Lydia on the occasion of their wedding
Someday you might realize that
you barely noticed all the midnights
that shuttled by, all the midnights
you slept through, made love through,
through which you nursed your friends
with bottles of wine, nursed your children
with stories and kisses–oh, lo,
those little stars of going to sleep.
They all slide off into the many days
and rhythms of the earth, off this planet
on which we stay behind,
on which we are anchored forever,
and they fold into the waiting cosmos
that swallows them whole.
Without fail or any special notice
each night you will peel back your bed sheets
and pull them forward again.
Under these sheets, you will breathe
into the regularity of sleep,
those same sheets
that each morning you slough into the day
and into the sunlight
that always remembers you,
the light that reminds you
sometimes of happy endings,
sometimes of persistence,
of patience, and each other.
It seems slow work, this day to day living.
It acts like a habit you will never shed,
an endless list of things to do. The business of living
always endures; it’s the religion we all practice.
Prayer is the ride to work. Prayer is the weather,
the dank smell of a subway stop.
Prayer is our food, flowers in buckets,
and everything that troubles you.
We are singular planets
revolving alone, until we turn again
toward each other.
Most especially, prayer is the regard of wakeful,
of mindful. Prayer is every single thing we say to each other,
which in the end is all we have,
that and everything we notice,
that and the blessing of time. It all flies at you
and through you. Quicksilver.
Someday in the hurtling future,
at midnight, you may notice a streak of light
fall into the horizon.
You will turn again toward each other
and again and again.