The Simple

The women cluster at the cathedral,
hair in careful bouffant helmets,
armored and elegant, poised to herd
                                                            into Mystery.
I want to do that too, but then tear up I can’t
                                                            say why.

Stand still. Wind wisps my hair that gently
you brush like stardust from my eyes. Light shifts
and colors sharpen. Across the square the Grand
                                                            Hotel sparkles with
                                                            chandeliers, mirrors
upon mirrors in gold-leaf frames: the soaring empty space
                                                            of the Symbolic.

Throngs pass in and out of these yawning
doors, the alacritous doormen, the language
of bodies feeling fear, love, pain–desire–
                                                            equitably: a gift
                                                            of insight
we hadn’t asked for or realized we’d received,
                                                            a simple,

an edge of the Negative: not simple
but potent, to refuse absolutes, remain
in process, a healing the (my) emotional
                                                            body in order
                                                            to keep open
the possible. The huddling women who’d seemed
                                                            so done up

are wounded, not not beautiful,
as in the strength with which they clutch one
another, eloquent now their faces have character,
                                                            expressed in
                                                            the parlance
of style we could read but not speak, always our
                                                            broken word.

Originally published in Przekrój. Copyright © 2020 by Cynthia Hogue. Used with the permission of the poet.