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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.

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