The Neck of Forgiveness that Turns the Head

We sometimes forget, that for every forsaken word and given breath,
the heart can steal back on itself, like a retrograde planet,
or the bore tide, at the first pull of the moon,
reversing direction and doubling back
to the place where the two waters meet.

Or it can be like The Book of Gestures, opened and dog-eared
to the poem, ” The Neck of Forgiveness That Turns The Head,”
that you keep on your nightstand to remind you of an uncommon bidding,
when it barely stirs inside its bone-white cage,
hooded against the shudder of its own disposition,
in what you thought was repose or a strategic retreat into beauty.

You and I know what can’t be taken back
and what is water under the bridge,
that there are no punishments and rewards in nature,
no place for mercy or forgiveness.
People who came to Anchorage to admire the bore tide have drowned,
stuck in the mud flats and glacial silt or trying to outrun it.

Yet, sometimes it can happen skin to skin
to the rhythm of your own ragged breathing,
amid the tangled sheets, when you are a fist,
opening and closing in the dark,
clawing your way toward morning, in a suddenly unfamiliar bed.
Someone strokes your hand until it sighs and opens.
The crescent marks in your palms fade and disappear,
and you once again become an open hand
that offers to the other what neither of you can fathom,
but which will pass, at least until morning, as forgiveness.