Eric's Poem

If I said I died six times, maybe that
was too many.
It was god's hand pressing like nectar from
apples and pears and there I was formally
being massaged somewhere between the pines and firs.
I saw groves encircling circles, enclosing space,
rain undivided, no rows, no corn, no bravery.
Lying on the couch, face pressed, my body
was not mine, but a stand-in for the world.
My breath was the weather, my hips the valleys,
shoulders turnpikes. And the hands that
went in, God's hand, shaped and sowed that
body born according to Mom on June 1, 1964.
A switch, a kidnap, a swap, the earth
became my body and seeds were placed by birds
and the palms of she who was healing.
In that world nothing was built but lines
and curves, shapes that stole the light.

Leaving the earth, that June 1st body
became a pin cushion, a stand-in for all the
sufferers; those born outside and away of that glory
house in Boulder Creek where I came, driving
a blue car filled with pears and mud.
I became, unknowingly
all the suffering children, the aching grandmother
and all those who stored their courage in
twisted arms, arched backs, and crippled toes.
My back was their back, breathing, though
the lengthening was theirs.
And then I died, face in the mud which
like a wool cap, I relied upon in
winter. Pressed in deep brown, butterflies
left with my breath and danced above my June 1st body.
No longer breathing, no longer enjoying the show.

The same circle of trees, sticks stuck
around me, I heard another body
laugh, though not the one I knew. It
died, the second body, lying along side the first.

I was dead but the pinching of my
foot called another body,
and I died a third time.
Next week, I thought, I would
find the circle, sit down and mourn for
the three bodies, somewhere beneath a lake
green and red.

Someone kissed me on my cheek, a girl with
bouncing curls who left the day before,
holding my hand and opening her heart.
So there I was the June 1st body,
dead three times, three more to go.

My head this time pressed deep into the
mud began to cry for joy was released, no bones
to pick, no muscles to move the
steering wheel.

I was dead six times, a new comer
without a telephone.

Coming back to life, I couldn't breathe
but only cried for I knew now that
June 1st was always and the world was
new, some garden, some grove somewhere
where singing birds
pushed off. I laughed, having died six times
yet only still learning how to drive.

Copyright 2000 Eric Seifert