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Matins; Compline; Drinking

Amanda Villafranco

 

Matins

 

Hands fold, legs

fold, bodies fold

into prayer, spoken

 

in tongues, in teeth,

in the silent sheen

of sweat and this

 

is prayer, what

is prayer but

origami striving

 

for form from creases,

pleading for relief,

for breath, one-

 

ness, release. The crane

animates, flies

toward that heaven

 

from which it flees.

 

 

 

Compline

 

Their voices—tremors—

noisy crows flocking—

rise up and   up

and     up

chilly,

reaching an atmospheric level that condenses

them, precipitates them, gives

form to the humid

occurrence of their words

which then fall, black

rain on blacker land.

 

 

 

Drinking

 

I should be writing something right now

Instead, I’m drinking

in the view: quiet

valley of your temple sloping cheekbones

cacao eyes hang above:

two eclipsed planets suspended in a sky of wisdom

 

gleaned from the cruel crop of conquest

generations of pain sewn in fields of history, defeat

victorious struggle at harvest

roots dive deeper, delineate

the DNA that composes

perfect contours in your ageless face

 

I should be recording every moment, every detail:

the name of the wine: the vintage, the brand, and the year

how it softens your laugh

eases your mind

allows the narrative to tumble, freed

easily from that dark, glass bottle

 

I should remember that you are the vessel

you carry time

infinite space bearing witness to the triumphant

fortitude of a woeful continent

your heart, the mouth of ruby tributaries

a chalice brimming with humid secrets

aging in the dark with each passing year

 

 

 

 

Amanda Villafranco is a traveling academic, mother, wife, and thoroughbred race horse rider.