you were so quiet that you never woke me

Tell me a story, you said—you’re a writer:

Write me something beautiful.

I looked right down through your wine-dark pupils into the milky night sky of your soul.

I began to write out this story on your spine, tracing hieroglyphics on your neck, invisible ink of dead skin cells from my fingertips.

Once upon a time,

I wrote,

An ocotillo shrub blossomed on Vesuvius—

You accused me of Zefferelli-itis, of George Stevens Syndrome, of false congruences, unserviceable conflations, of—

Nothing of the sort, I stop-sign my hand upon your back. I caught a glimpse of God in the desert, and a flash of Galilee on the shore.

Is an ersatz Holy Land portraiture or mirage?

We are searching for Judea in saguaro and Pardes on other coasts. Why not go barefoot? This all indeed may be holy ground.

You are a burning bush, I write inside your ear,

A flaming act of God—

You are the fire underneath the mountain,

fluid rock, destabilized destabilizer,

liquid earth, taking the shape of its new

landscapes and

I cannot contain you.

You will never take my shape.

The ocotillo was covered in ash,

So Moses put his sandals on and left.

The voice of God was quenched by flames.

For, at least, tonight.

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