Half and Half
“Nothing can stand by itself. Took a million years, I figure, for the copper and tin in that pitcher to come together as pewter. Took the sun, the seasons, the metalworker, his family and forebears, and the whole of Creation, seems to me, sir, to make that one pitcher. How can I say I own something like that?”
Jackson Calhoun, from Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
There was no predetermination
of this calm, dawn-lit glance.
It is happening by chance, gladly.
Yet, within several senses
is meaning seeping.
Even the channels through
which I reel, thankful,
have their randomness,
riding the arc of eons
to this midwestern kitchen
and arriving. In your fine hands,
emanating rays of memory:
tapping at the piano,
mapping out plans,
grasping a hammer,
and clasping a necklace behind your
back. Into the room I drift
again. You cradle a cup
of white china we acquired
years ago, I recall
not how. How did it pass to us?
How do so many miss the mystery
of this - the entirety
of history mingling with your fingers
and our first words of this day?
Now, we have invented our own rituals;
we take unique communion. With knowledge
that bread was never body,
blood was never wine.
But piety is retained in our veins,
starlight our scripture
and each year a hymnal,
speaking after unclashing symbols.
The joys of this house remain simple
in their expression despite density
in their essence. They do not
even exist in so many ways.
Nor do we - how much time
would it take to be otherwise?
Time should never be the measure.
By time, this earth may be
an infant or an elder —
who can be sure?
But surely it will surpass us,
we more minute than any syllable.
And eternity may not take angel-shape;
in this there can be sadness.
But steal your courage
from abundant summer suns still sleeping
and the circling steam
that muses from your palms
between our eyes as they embrace
never for the first time.