Before The Temple

The woman is only a few years younger than me.

Her long, chestnut hair is beneath her bright hoodie.

Stripes, of yellow and orange and red, sunset colors.


We sit on the plastic slides in the park playground.

We pass a cigarette. We pass a night. We pass a star.

We pass the venom of hope in our passionate kisses.


Her tattoo on her wrist is the black lines of God’s name.

She tells me she can’t speak it, but it frees her from sex.

Her name was left on a scrap of paper in my library book.


She removes her hoodie and shirt, and I write the words

that are the deathless silences of my most apocalyptic dreams;

apocalypses revealing the place where God, sighing, made me.


She puts the shirt and hoodie back on. No one else will see.

They are already fading from her skin. They are in her viscera.

A half-felt remembrance. She has vino to consecrate our devotion.


The stars made the light that weaved the sacred threads from

the profanity of all human flesh, the joy from base desires, hunger.

The stars that she plucks are made her crown; she is mother of all.


We kiss. A simple gesture. Not a simple thing to trust to love.

Our hands are hard and calloused, and we built the sky.

I kiss her cheek. Sealed like marriage vows to her bitter venom.

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