Posted by: Harold Knight | 01/21/2012

Oh, no! What happened to 3000 words per day?

Savasana - The Corpse

Savasana - The Corpse

From death, some say,
we shall rise incorruptible.
I once held that belief in my mind
when I could not hold it in my body.
Now I lie still, feel my breathing in,
my breathing out, if not for my breath,
a corpse—Savasana.
The rage from my core—base, brutish,
mindless, out of control,
howling itself alive without thought–
melds into my stillness,
absorbed into my breath,
and my body believes
my self.

The plain gold sign of my father’s constancy
fits on the intermediate phalanx of the third digit
of my right hand.
My father’s hands were more delicate than mine
and his bond with my mother stronger than any
I have yet to sustain.
I slipped the valuable metal from his hand—
an intimacy reserved for a son—bound in gratitude,
standing by his bed a lifelong moment after
he died.

Signs reveal more than symbols. Red octagons
conjure no abstract ideas of coming to rest
and express no feelings in memory of approaching danger.
The shape is “Stop!”
Knocks at my door excite no thought of visitors past
or pleasant reveries on the hope of community
or deliberations on the importance of friendship.
They mean “come.”

My father’s gold band raises no debate of family values
or blustery rhetoric on the defence of marriage
or condemnation of the manners of anyone’s life
or pride of place in the communion of mystery.
His ring reveals only the essence of his life.
It was his and now—even on my clumsy hand—
it is mine.
It is love.








I walk–a street, a sidewalk–alone.
For a moment I look, intent—staring
at rocks covering the parking strip of a front yard,
rocks of uniform size, round, some with sharp edges
like arrowheads we picked up a childhood ago
from the dry grassy sand hills at Ft. Robinson in Nebraska,
many states away but looming now close in my mind.
The rocks, deep gray with erratic white lines,
placed with care side by side in one layer,
I see as earth’s crust laid bare
here in this one small patch.

In this uncanny clarity of vision I see
the rocks in turn—
not together, but each one alone—
the shapes the same
but the edges distinct, chiseled
as Lakotas chiseled their arrowheads,
one chip at a time until their points
were right for the kill.

The sidewalk rises up to meet my feet,
and I see each grain of sand embedded in the fly ash.
The concrete mixture hardened flat when it was poured—
solid, straight-edged, brown beside the gray rocks.
And the clear thought of my own death
rises up to meet my mind. I say,

(In the Law: “A future interest that allows the grantor to retain the right to use that property until the specified transfer date.”)

Shelves of books and papers—-
mementos begging the question,
reasoning in circles,
circling back on themselves to find meaning-—
commemorate the meaning
of the books and papers I love,
I keep them to touch, to see-—perhaps to read.
The shelves at first were his,
now memorials of love abandoned in death,
not in betrayal, anger, or indifference.
The shelves became ours,
used together while he was here,
superstructures embracing our minds.
To remember is imperative,
to remember that long ago we established
control together of the structures of our lives
while he was here, and my right when he was gone,
not to commemorate him-—I now know-—
but to give me comfort,
to insure my security for awhile
in the circle of memory.


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