Rounded Knowing

Lady of floating black hair, black eyes,
Your specialties are dangly earrings, printed scarves,
Muted golds and purples on jazzy blacks– [no stanza]
Night talker, spirit walker,
Gentle with everyone–
You wondered who I am,
If I could forage for bread
In unpalatable dogmas,
Asked me did I believe in the pope?
And did I think that anyone is really damned.

What had you to do with asking that?
Who know the jolliest way
To look at any subject.
With flicking, circling, downturned wrist
You redeem stupidities of malaperts and bumblers
Into tales that send a room of friends
Into gales of laughing,
And even your narrated victims circle in the kindness
Of your mind–
No harm taken, they get up and walk unscathed
Into your next account of drolleries.

I said I feared one might come to ruin
Past repair,
That for me damnation is an image–
Mugshots of mutilators, their eyes
No eyes
But holes unscreening emptiness.
They found no love, ever,
Or none that took.
They wait among us,
Steel traps cocked to strike.

“But don’t you see?” you said,
“A time will come when their eyes will fill!
It can’t be otherwise since God
Is God,
Love flowing through rhythms of knowing
In rounded fullness.”
In Israel such faith was found.
Your atheist father’s Jewish genes
Have danced in you
For all he could do to banish sappy notions–
He loved you so well.
But what unloved layer of me
Waits with steel-trap jaws cocked.
Speak to me again, O black-eyed one,
And my eyes will fill with substance, light,
Or tears.