Waiting is the space where every love transforms into longing into love

"Love that converses with me in my mind,
he then began, so sweetly
that the sweetness sounds within me still."
                        ~ Dante asks Casella to sing;
                            Purgatorio, Canto II, Lines 112-114 [3]

Sunrise, airy 
on ivory sheepskin—
Botticelli has sketched 
the scene of a hundred souls 
arriving on a boat ferried by an angel
who tips them out as the vessel runs 
aground. What's hell, or even this 
purgatory, if it isn't brushed 
with fire or tinted with the darkest 
hues of suffering? 
                                        And these beings, 
stripped  of their usual garments 
for swifter conveyance from our
more familiar world of trappings, 
supposedly are singing. 
A kind of choir, stumbling
into the pale light, asking for 
                         unsure of what
they've been told—that waiting
is already a kind of salvation—
for it's hard to imagine
a sweetness withheld 
or yet to come. And so, 
when the shade of Cato 
shouts in rebuke What 
                                  is this negligence, 
what lingering is this?  still, it's such
agony to peel away from  the warm 
nest of arms that so freshly 
embraced them; from those 
that beat their breasts or tore their hair 
as their beloveds passed through
the watery veil, scattering 
like flocks of birds.

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