Soul work

~ after Remedios Varo, “El Encuentro” (The Encounter), 1959;
oil on masonite

Even the sky has given up its blue
in order to burn. When iridescent

green wings of surveillance insects
descend from the vaulted arches,

you know it is the hour of peril,
the hour during which the soul

might be discovered. You’ve worn thin
and so often that ice-blue habit—

it’s shrunk and now is only inches
from being engulfed in flame. There’s

always a part that lags behind, though:
second-guessing the moment before intensity,

it hides in its brown hollow, one hand
on the sill. Will it cross the threshold,

risk raising some alarm of trumpets,
the snarling of the beast that prowls

the premises? Here is the one who willingly
signs itself over to be singed. And here is

the other, who will die wearing the clothes
of every grievance stitched to its back.

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