Surely too much for one day,
starting with Voltaire’s Candide
tossed about by a capricious God;
still he swore it the best of worlds.
“It’s all right to question,” I told
my class. “Ask why!” It mustn’t
come sewed up in neat packages.
Still, I could do with a tidy
parcel, for when the message
came, it was for me. Once I
loved that aging aunt who tried
to seduce death, then blamed me
when I pulled her from his arms.
Decidedly she’s happy now.
Was it a capricious God who
assured I wouldn’t be alone?
Did we argue bitterly before
so we could share a healing
meal the day she died? Did he
know we moved mountains
as we sat and spoke of grief?
That night friends offered a sauna:
smoking rocks, an old wood stove,
cool top bench in a wooden hut,
copper dipper to lavish steam.
Heat was healing, but best
the icy water afterward, curling
every inner vessel in surprise.
He called me in, but I stood white
outside, trying to capture the night,
cold, deep blue, and full of stars.
A screen of bamboo rustled,
feathery evergreens sighed.
When I came back in, my man
was pensive and cast down,
but I had the sky in my hand.