Parables

When I approach the evening a last time
with ashes and the silence of apples
or the sea and its pull from land
then the calm left over from the wind's retreat
across the world a thousand miles
returns to fill in the empty corners...
a calm that comes and goes
without a place or designation
as the spirit does.
At times our many words intrude
and we cling to them with hope that somehow
they will fit and save us.
But in the end we are here alone
with only poor translations.
We talk and our speech is punished by our lives.
What remains
the ravishing largess of Parables
for they depend on what is left unsaid
as when on our last day together I look up at you
without desire
and we begin to make our preparations for the Journey.
And yet it is not as we imagined it
the rich man in his red hat
the poor one in his penance.
When the table is set
and the streets are empty
a light is burning in a cave somewhere
and the smallness of God is asleep
inside the wheat and water.
Then, the beggar multiplies
the loaves and fishes
and sings a Kaddish for the heart.
Outside the Polish village (that is no more)
The Messenger comes with his violin
and a little dance, the somnambulist
the stranger in our midst
the Rabbi of our confessions.
And later on when there is nothing left
to hold on to, when the trench is closed
and the bones poke up through the earth
and history is dumb with separation
then the power comes in staying awake
as though it mattered and the light
pours out of the sky and nails you to the Universe again.
In another time the mustard seed is fallen
and the leaves of trees give up their fortune
but to spend time with them is the secret.

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