Two Poems by Jesse Morales
With autumn’s pale of burnished light
Slanting through the oaks’
Releasement of leaves, I walk
In noble silence. Until this series
Of steps, I did not know the term.
Until meeting among holy graves
The empty dark, I did not know
I was suffering. My art —
That painted harlequin of poise,
Choreograph, hide, and re-position —
Melds into the singing bowl’s
Rich yet modest tones. Tonight,
The world is filled with souls.
And on this night, as in Auden,
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell…”
For all the sable shades of clinging
Drop into other hells, and I
Stand light on the friendly earth —
Empty — lacking nothing.
And yet, continuous breath
In and out, rise and release,
Flows through other silent walkers
And through the clouds to me.
I know that I know nothing
As our crowd of souls in foot-traffic
Climbs the cemetery hill.
We, alive, still carry
Unmet dreams of those
Who will never walk again.
How right that overhead the moon,
That cold canvas, invites
Contemplation of the endless circle,
The reflection of light from light,
The indestructible nature of matter
And its dependent arisings.
What is being — but the peal of a bell
Dancing with leaves in the evening,
In a cool breath of wind?
What is a soul — but shorthand
For gravitation’s faithful pull
Of falling things to a single ground?
ON FLOWERS & FAMINE
Reaching the cusp of flowering peartrees,
screeching birdlings, the last snow —
Gathering palettes stained with memory
Harsh against a March night —
In the mind, it’s always near dawn.
Hunger: the void-laden mouth.
Snowclouds lapping up horizon ground.
Painful budding without a cry.
Remember what nestles up to spring —
endless human wanting.
Milk of moonlight, stream to me,
silken as the child’s hand releasing
its mother’s hair after suckling —
when the imagination of grief
seems impossible to conjure.
And the morning light, rising petal-yellow
above the inward mountains — yes,
even unhatched eggs shudder at the clash:
wind rasping into branches, florets of the past,
gaping breaths of those fresh-born.
Jesse Morales is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer who received her artistic training in contemporary dance. Her work has appeared in Poetica, Geez Magazine, Apeiron Review, The Mighty, 100 Word Story and Danse Macabre, among other publications. She lives and writes in Greensboro, North Carolina. Read her previous poems in Deep South here.