- The Sculptor of Sleep, and: Easter Vigil, and: "The Mystery’s Festal Garment"
The Sculptor of Sleep
All afternoon I worked on the bronze statues with a steel brush, cleaning off the excess wax that had left a white sheen as of milk or soap streaking in the waves and folds of metal robes, pooling in the pockmarks, pallor sinking into the tooled grooves and flecking the smooth uplifted faces
At five the shadows had fallen so deeply over the sculptured saints that I could no longer work and so went home to my beer and my book. I read and thought of Eckhart: how severe he was, excoriating the soul of every palpable love.
All creatures are pure nothingAll creatures have no beingfor their being consistsin birth past the ambit of desire
If it is thus for creation can I at least use poetry to part the darkness of this scabrous abyss?
No, you must walk withoutthat light, even withoutyour hands before your face,without eyes, without hands,
without face. Poets pretend, but who among us, now or ever, could take the birth-pangs he conceived. Perhaps the cold chill of the metal had turned thoughts feverish: I dreamed I saw, as if under the power of an optometrist’s close beam, the back of my eyeball. [End Page 135]
Aching concave membraneThe same abrasions I hadclarified in cleaningWhite scales harshly brushed away
The day after the dream I anoint the statues with lemon oil, rubbing the fragrance into fanned-out folds where robe and dress resemble rock faces. Thin chiseled lines and ripples spreading like water blown over rock, oil into corpse-wound contusions [End Page 136]
Who is it looks at methrough the reflex of a candle flamein the polished mahogany
All that I have done flickers in the dark of the not done flickers in the great winged dark
The hull resonates in the breaking swell of the Gloria The light is sudden blinding
The world in its age grows godly-hollowWhat cargo did I dream onin the long candle readings
Blown wax spatters on the red brick floor Any vessel will do
any hold any night to hide the night any cistern for the moon
O any sister light [End Page 137]
“The Mystery's Festal Garment”
Another year I glossthe red brick for Easter
the rag soaked and stiffening with wax
I have polished the confessional
but I do that everywhere
Blessing earth notvoided by the love of heaven
Rubbing the black grout with lacquer
Pressing light into the stone
Proof follows praxis
as fact follows form
“We know all that! —what a foolish [End Page 138]
thing to say. Anyone can know the story”
but to be present where love is the form
to be a worker in the Work [End Page 139]
David Mutschlecner lives and works in New Mexico. He has published three books with Ahsahta, most recently Enigma and Light (2012). Mutschlecner currently has work in New American Writing.