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How to Live
(a short song for Aretha Franklin and departures)

There is no wisdom. Neither an Offering nor a Seeking – no –
More a wonder
that is a river buried close to Earth’s center,
sliding in slow speed over sediment unseen and unnoticed
sunken warm water trudging, soldiering, through air thick as onyx, immune
to light no matter how dim.

When you least expect it
or want it
your Earth is lanced, the wound empty
and hollow beneath your slender feet.
Either your body or your gaze or what might even be called,
if you dare,
your Soul
fall to the river,
the Earth-light white and blinding, and then the farther you fall
the more grey the air becomes;
even then your eye
or your Soul
never adjusts to your stupid precipitous failure
to dance lightly with and within
the brilliant
alabaster Grace
of the Sun.

And no Artemis will save you.
And no Hermes will pity you.
And Jesus turns his hand, but only because he must.
You. Not a mother with milk in her breast.
You. Not a Lover or stricken maid on her knees
begging her keep on an ebony leash.
You. Not the Seer of Souls or Suns over nameless horizons.
You plummet to the river
and then
after the briefest shock and gasp
you are
the river.

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