Poem: Cousin to the Light

Santiago Matamoros  

Deirdre Maultsaid

//As the mist rises on the stony path
we take our bearing on the golden bell tower
gathering, ensouling,
the heather our diviner.

We tell our dreamy story.
I am a pilgrim collecting souls; she is a pilgrim
you are there too, gathering light
a story telling its own story
travellers on The Way, such brightness round.

We are on a long granite promenade,
wet and glittering
tears of light, those baby stars,
the last journey to Campus Stellae.

We pass under and in.
She kneels at the altar and presses her lips
to his jewelled cloak,
waits for me to bow to this cousin.

Then, a miracle:
black takes me, black as itself
I bite the halo; taste metal and am gone.

I step on barefoot prophets to reach and then
I grab the stars and put them in my jet box,
swoop down the golden arcade, airborne,
my torque a message, thrumming at my throat
through a colonnade,
up over the cathedral battlements.

The headland at the end of the world beckons,
old promises, the cold ocean winds
the weird waves coming.

I topple an oak and the love-promising yews
into the black azebache cist living and breathing
one more baby to cry, shorn, lonely, wakeful
into the black, as dark as the inside of the tomb,

as dark as the truth that it has always been empty,
dark as the empty cistern at the hilltop settlement
now filling
now filling up, mineral and fresh, as I fly
the mystical power of the azabache beckoning rain.

Into the gathering dark, I place
what was sacred
my babies, all babies
the stories told
all the celestial hope.

Into the black that both darkens and helps see
I place even you, especially you.

Now there is a running, shuddering glittering light above and below.
The box lid will not close
on these souls
on you,
your radiance
apparelled in rain.


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