by Gerard Wozek
Temple of Wings

What is permanent?
That mountain sloped
toward the lake,
our bucolic sun waving a truce
through lavender smog?
I play patty-cake with a sea anemone
as the tide hoards up sand bridges.
I'm forgetting again: blights, viruses,
the enemies of song.

I move into open spaces
the way a spark devours a path
of acetylene, burning up old selves,
losing faithlessness,
rendering shyness to ash.
What will finally save us
from ourselves?
Giotto's stalwart cherubs marking time
on chapel frescos? Music that lopes
across the bar stirring the memory
of a first kiss?

Some moments we find ourselves
weightless, transparent,
temporarily cast into the iconography
of a St. Michael wielding his sword
or Joan as she succumbed
to the voices that prodded her into battle.
Most times we keep ourselves hungry,
while some go on praying,
staunch in their knowing,
that the kingdom of the cross-eyed
will never take over,
cascades of grace
will entomb them as they sleep,
enshrine them in a landscape
sheared of cynicism,
flowering with portents
assuring them, they breathe
as Wender's angels do:
infinite, limitless,
sewn into a pattern of destiny
that matters.

-from River Oak Review, No. 14, Spring,
2000, Guest Editor Patricia Monaghan