To be lost in a man is to find his ruin

nestled within him,

 
a barn-owl

trapped in the rafters mid-winter

 
until it gives in to solitude, sleep.

To find his betrayals, small swailings

 
inside him; how the coals

of his first eighteen Octobers crackle now low

 
in his throat, the embers singing

themselves into smoke. To see through him: the boy,

 
his hair wet & parted—a shimmering fish

pulled out of ice-water. Not holy, not yet

 
beautiful. Not shaking but shaken,

but found.

 
To be lost when you’ve heard his bad echo;

the way his feet carry on

 
as he carries it daily, carries it

with both hands. How for you, he practices holding

 
& turning a sound

to new worship—

 
let it rise on its own & it rises:

unhurried, lopsided, like bread.

 
And how he arrives at your door after midnight

with the smell of a field

 
you’ve once walked as a child, the way it opened itself

completely, one Jessamine at a time.

 
& this might be all he knows

of devotion; the way his hands move through his sleep,

 
tracing small rosaries in the air.

This is the wild of your life & you watch him

 
as David was watching Bathsheba

drifting on the roof by herself

 
with Uriah, away in besieged Rabbah,

fallen on his sword

 
& David knowing, watching— lost

entirely in the woman: not holy, never

 
holy. Only bathing, beautiful

& naked enough to be found.

AVIA TADMOR