Song of Long Illness

Gianna Celli    Keeper of the Castle    s/d:
Even if you have eighty-four thousand
Angels to attend to you
You have to take all alone
That last step    of Death

'My sister opens a window in order
    to see where I am
The wind out there    comes in here
    to sing in the order of the song'
                -- thus Duncan, Robert

The eyes are windows
The nostrils, lungs, air passages
The throat, the thoracic cavity
of a young girl
Are all windows for circulation
of song
But what if the very air sacs burst
    at the moment of breath?
-- alveolitis, they call it --
But the heart beats on
    And between living and dying
    my sister lives on

'We are all stories within stories'
my sister said
Where do you belong?
I come in when you've waited 14 months long
for a brother
your other

I come in when father rushes in
To see his bloodsoaked son
Mother has already turned her back to me
And father is furious if Death should take me
Son to father
Spirit of his spirit
So they called me Hoshang
Meaning 'son'

I herald the morn
The false Zoroaster
Dying at birth of a ruptured
To the World Womb
This is our tomb

The Trickster flowers
in the almond tree
Van Gogh was mad
So he saw the light through it
Shining like an Anunciation of Light
The angel of life sang in his cut-off ear
    a dead seashell in his lap
The angel of death sang in his blood

I shut my eye
to see Van Gogh's almond tree
So real is it

The air comes out of our lungs
Saying I'm free
Not knowing a moment ago
It was imprisoned in our belly

The very breathing
The very pulse
is what I feel failing

And my sister
takes me on to the Terrace of stars
I see the light of stars
That died three hundred and twenty years ago

I am my ancestor's shadow

Death comes by day or night
As darkness or as light
First the eyes fail
The sun exploding in the mind's cells clouds
Our hands rise in prayer
But no prayer comes
To whom shall I pray --
-- To Zoroaster?

These hands meet
Five fingers on each hand
Stand for five failing senses
We have believed only in non-sense
And these hands have writ upon the dark
I go where my sister has gone before
Through a door
On looking back suffer arrest

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