01 January 2014

ICU, I See You

This gift is yours
if you will accept it.
Taken on its own
it is by no means the most costly.
Later I will give you
a certain formless gift,
bottled in my attempt
to contain matchless beauty—
but for today I offer you
gold, once molten,
now hardened, shaped
and polished—a sign
of fidelity—not mine,
yours. Take this token
so you will remember
to forgive my eternal
adulteries. Strings
disintegrate, metal endures,
as does your kingdom.
This gift is yours
if you will accept it.

And here is another gift.
When used it makes
the shape

You never followed
our black and white liturgies
printed in neat rows on a press,
recited heartless by the masses.
Priest, your teaching is as the gray smoke
of incense burning, fragrant,
simultaneously stinging and soothing our senses,
mediating transcendence and immanence.
Pray for us sinners in this the hour of your death.
In your passing, bid us passage to the cloud of unknowing
so, contemplating your ineffability,
we may know your glory.

Finally, a third. Use it in wasteful extravagance
as if death will come by day’s end.
Break the bottle and let beauty flow where she will.

Why must you be liquid and wisp
and what will become of my ring, your ring?
Come back to me.
Do not leave.
You are my only true friend,
your love—the only perfect.

Prophet, give me an allegory of hope.
Christ, anointed one, save and reign.
Adam, dying one, resuscitate yourself—
for the breath of God surrounds you
as frankincense
and you are more boundless sea,
like the fragrance of myrrh,
than dust of land.

See these gifts?
They are worth more
than their set price.
Accept them in your mercy.

ICU, I See You
a poem by Troy Cady

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