Standing Before the Final Absence


“This poem is written in memory of Jessica Lee Cain”



Cruelty, beast you slyly feign to be

and also are such in actuality,

deeper cutting the veins of hate and envy:

do I touch your hands or bleed the mouth?


There are no words to draw

from this deep tragedy.

Her place, crowned with deep woe

and the treachery of one thought!


Hopeless are the hours I now feel

clasping my brain in thick peril!

Envision the wrath facing her enemy!

Plotting the demise of almost death.


Sweet fingers reach to snap the flower

of beauty from the place of fear.

We held on, dreamed of other sleep,

but you have been with us in the earth.


How do I learn to love now

that I once refused to seek?

The compassion gleamed

in the diamonds of her priceless eyes,


so that Love only pretended surprise.

I reached into the ether for answers

and was knocked back for my attempt.

Does anyone know the clustering of agony


these lost moments bring to me?

She smiled like a mother in tender arms.

I wish the world would be silent,

and hope blossom again into rain.


I cannot blame this world for the flowers

of dream pressed into dry loss.

We do not know how the hell

came forward and died in her.


I think the night is growing in furtive isolation.

Our world looks another way, trying to forget the flames.

I calmed quietly when I saw your face

and I nearly worshipped its innocence.



White lily of our sacred bonds,

our eyes tearing while strengthening

neighboring eyes,

sweet song of this valley of death:


it is not strange that you should be taken from us.





Look, the horizon is fading

and your pleas are useless

except for their vanity.

What is it you expect now?



VOICE I (male)


Bring back the flowers

I once knew!

Don’t tempt me with lies

and signs of strength!


I know I am not perfect.

I am only a quarrelsome mask

of some lost ambivalence.

I cannot be who God wills me.


This admission, final and serious,

should be enough humility

to raise the dead back from slumber.





Each last breath is a sacred flower.

You are reaching to the hour of longing

and the hopeless stage where it acts.

Now that silence is your crown,


I must ask that you leave the fields.








VOICE II (female)


Why won’t you listen to him?

All of us have suffered cruel blows

from the thunder of Fate

and His ancillary troops.


Night pours down on us:

we are no longer shrinking

from the virgin of death,

or hiding from the wind.





I must do as I please,

as it is the will of God.

Cruelty only claws deeper

into the ground,


and your laughter cannot sing,

and your hearts are not proud.



VOICE I (male)


Now. What is the truth?

Are we to sing peril?

How do we know what the light

is worth when it darkens our lips?


I open my mouth to sing of hope

and you slap me, break my teeth,

and step back as if to view my response!

Of course I am angered.



VOICE II (female)


Together, we will fight this insolence!

His armies cannot battle with our hope!

They pull their skeletons from the sand

and aim their daggers at our youth.


Light, light and a dream, does it frighten you,

cruel beast? Are we, too, in love with Possibility?



VOICE I (male)


Listen to the coming storm.

The tempest is all we have ever known

and together we must endure.

Together, our voices must sing the earth

we know, the truth we must learn to see.


Life, o bitterness and complexity!

The night brings archaic stillness!

The old forest where we imagine the names

we were meant to be


now razed to the dirt,

left to the lingering lost sighs.





I, Cruelty, have worn many shrouds.

Like the angels, and as the evil jester laughs:

I, too, have grieved at your sighs and plight.

Though nothing has been true to its purpose

it is not wise that you should face the dark


without a lantern or in the least

a warm heart that never cools.





Together we will be raptured

at the gates,

and we will breathe our strongest hope

as if the night never changed,

as if the meager forces of hate and spite

simply could go no farther,

and we were the last symbol.


We stand,

peacefully we hold hands

and whisper the dancing song

so that we may live everlong

in the happiest palace

of incensed dream.






I fear my defeat is impossible

as my impeccable methods

grant the last moments

to your innocence.


Can you remember the ghosts

from your childhood,

and does the pain make you envious

of their charms?


I made them. I brought them back.

The house of hollowness is the last hearth.





You cannot take her, once more,

into the grave:

she has already kissed you, danced

the moments of time,

and turned her back on the mortal house.


Even my heart pounding in rage

cannot succumb to your temptation,

o Devil, the night is your womb

and mercy is friend to a lover’s touch…


I have wanted, life and lifelong,

to see justice served

like an emblem of trust and the breast of hope.





What he dares say is true of you,

o last of the hopeless,

and I cannot wait for your empty robes

to fall and reveal who you are.


Your heart is the tomb of wickedness

and you will be estranged from those eyes

that were diamonds,

her luster will never fade!






Let us sleep, and the fields,

they are rising,

and we are opening our mouths

to seal the great thing that is mercy!





Teach us the openness, o Lord,

that we may know how to forgive

and the hate threaded into our hearts

loosen, and we finally set ourselves free.


I love that I may know You:

even though disappointment taunts

my wings and weighs them with grief,

I must stay the grain,


I must look to the fields where hope do reign.





Now angel, now bright, look to my eyes:

you will not see the absence of light

but the dead, dead pearls of plight

and the wrought iron of fear and death.


Your song will be made nothing,

empty pain revealing itself slowly.

I can only dig into your veins,

hide without your knowing,


as I kiss the bowels of earth

and as I cut the binding that holds

all faith together…





We fear not the ignorance of sin.

The skeleton of your energy

is wasted, fruitless agony.

My epiphany will bring fruit to the tree

where happiness, pity, and charity

renew their dreams.



And fly, heat of the hells beyond!

Return to your dungeon

and leave us to love the last prayer

we speak in her name!


Cruelty, away.

The night is one where the reluctance

we faced for years

now becomes one,

tears come,

we are back to our truth.





Her voice is tears,

and I will be the strength

her heart leans upon

because silence in itself is not the answer.





You are puzzled in your battles

and I fear, lost to the rain!

The waters will sweep you away

into the arms of one last kiss

with the insolence of my grin.





No. We are strong. The weeping

has finally ceased.

We are back to our lives

and although we are broken

we are not yet without love.


And never will you make us,

fearsome, hateful, dark Death.