Instead of immortality, the gods gave us human affection.
We are all waiting for the storm and there’s always a storm.
There’s always the quiet that comes before the storm and the quiet
that comes after, disaster
averted or limply borne.
We do not bear disaster bravely, even if acts of bravery
show our mettle; still we are limp before circumstance,
powerless as downed wires sheared through.
We are always waiting for the storm.
It bruits in the distance, foreboding nimbus
shadowing our hours, sheltering fears,
sapping our strength to power its own.
And we wait. Our births, deaths,
--separate storms. But there are always others
with their births, deaths and intricate
anguishes filtering through decades—
just a few decades--of mortal terror time and again.
We wait. We give aid.
And just as greedily take,
seeking shelter in the lean-to of human affection,
the human heart not meant to last a hundred years,
but strong enough to break and mend, break and mend,
over and over, an organ that grieves, receives, relieves,
and cleaves until it can beat no more,
silenced, once and for all.
We are all waiting for the storm and there is always a storm.
The calm in the living room—gold light from the mica shade,
the clay bowl’s milky glaze—collides with the forecast
of the front headed toward us. It’s off in the distance
till the hours bear it near, hapless and dangerous,
these clouds full of woe. What do they know
of mercy or blessings? That’s left to us, all we can do
is bring our dying bodies close and closer,
shoulder-to-shoulder--what's left?--and weather the storm.