a note to St. Hildegard
There was no iron mountain, no
great glory to blind my sight. But for
an instant something did. The shadow
was not soft; and when it rose, it left
a pattern on my vision, like coffee
swirling around a drop of cream.
You might say half my vision was
veiled. But vision is whole in every eye.
So I was left with one vision exposed, one
vision veiled. I had been warned that the way
I was made inclined me to this, so I was
looking for stars, but there were none.
Only a veil and the swirl of cream in coffee
frozen floating on the surface of my vision. We
joked about calling the chaplain, and I knew you
would have found the nearest church. But, being
good modernists in a demystified age, we
made our way to a hospital to wait
with a crowd of suffering folk whose affliction
was so much talk there was no time to listen.
Remystified, I left without seeing
a doctor. The next day, a temple
entered by initiates with a key,
a coterie of priests to name the demon.
The exorcism, a ritual of pure light, is
Friday when every mosque on earth is filled
with prayer. I can see it with my eyes
closed. Meditating to the sound
of a Russian liturgy, it becomes
a dark branch heavy with cherry blossoms.
A bright sun devours it, collapses to green
light while I wait for the voice of some god,
expecting silence, knowing no god has nothing to say.
But if you have ears to hear, you can hear
nothing on edges where chatter breaks.