In Safeway yesterday, a young man sat on the floor,
pulled off his shoes, granted audience to us,
his fellow seekers, and picked his naked feet.
He smiled, our brother, at the story he told
of deliverance at the hand of Master Tombo,
lord and creator, whose round energy
lives in us surrounds us surrounds our milk
our butter our eggs: see Him there,
in the Slurpee glaze upon the freezer case?
In that elder by the yogurt shelves?
I believed his happiness and coveted
a tidy universe. He picked his feet
while a child whimpered by the melons, her nanny’s
mango aura made the cold blown air
touch my brain, I smelled myself in my aging body
and felt my silly bones collapse again.
I wanted Tombo’s dispensation to save
this faint believer and the indifferent world
that rivers through and past me. Down my aisle
lavender respired from the flower stall
and Security spoke kind words to our prophet.
Oh I love and hate the fickle messy wash
of speech and flowers and winds and the tides
and crave plain rotund stories
to justify our continuity. To the Maya corn was god,
spilled blood made corn grow,
the blood gods shed watered needy ground
and became People who worshipped the corn.
Tombo’s grace carries us, convinced, from one
inarticulate incoherent moment to the next.
Tonight the wet streets and their limelight sigh.
Orion turns, burning, unchanged again.
Bread rises somewhere and its ovens scent the trees.
My poor belief lives in the only and all
of the slur of what these are, and what these are
streams toward loss in moments we live through.
As children we were lost in our opaque acts
but fresh and full in time. I remember
how I touched a girlish knee, how one boy
broke another’s face, how we all stood
in hard gray summer rain so it would run
down the tips of noses to our tongues.