To make the frozen circumstances dance, you
have to learn to sing to them their own music.
I turn to my cold blood
in the language of blood.
And in the shrill, ivory tones of neglect,
I sing to the widening penumbra of my neglect.
In the incoherent babble of the child,
I return to my childhood.
And in the sharp, unfeeling syllables of betrayal,
I renounce my betrayals.
I will be a master of many tongues,
a Pentecostal rabbi chanting to the ghosts
of all my infidelities as they fall from the heavens.
And I will skate by
on the ice that has become my life—
whispering to the moon
in the language of the moon,
beckoning to the stars
in the voice of the stars,
waiting for the mute tides to ripple
beneath my rubbery legs
as I stoop to address the ice
in the cold, brackish language of water,
and of salt.
Reprinted from The
Wages of Goodness by Michael Blumenthal, by
permission of the University of
Missouri Press. Copyright 1992 by the
Curators of the University of Missouri.