If Only Christ

like anything else going bump in the night or
winking or wincing beneath the bellicose moon
stepfather/stepbrother, goodnight, sleep tight
I know not intimately or with certainty
any other anchor but a mother who hoarded
her sweet white wine.
I covet the spider scrambling the hoary ground —
that would be to have a christ somehow —
Oh the little potentialities! infant eggs in the
infant ovaries — to have been blessed
with such communion —
had the to-be-I differently chosen,
that bizarre theory, or fate.
I have felt it, him, in endless scorch
of prairie, and in tiny alpine towns,
and banished the nearer-to-heaven longing.
Had he but gathered like language — any —
immersion, by some fortuitous default,
osmotic as with all childhood,
squalor or riches, knoll or dirt or even
a splendor of concrete where, in some few places,
child and father frolic in a park mid-day —
or the gay terrible fracas of sibling-hood,
or sweet melancholy of the only-born,
stink of wet dog paw,
scratch and cuddle of cat
aroma of whatever a mother or even
drunken lout of father might offer
as nightly fare…
had christ been there even for the
casting off, the judas walk and talk,
the frenetic freedom of no, or yes
a referent, point on the compass,
mad compass even, microscopic ferris
stubbornly north, or careening mad,
everywhere at once, dizzy baptism in the topology
of some curious circus of wherever —
even christ as a clown, supra-substantiate
towering, glowering, false-smiled —
would it matter?
Heady hemlock that!  to feel a part of things
bone marrow and blood of things
sweet sarcofagus, straightjacket asylum —
What if it is true that in the beginning was the word — ?
not christ, that fickle wafer —
perhaps it is not a sin to utter,
does not preclude others after all,
like cellar door, our loveliest, it is said,
or soliloquy, meander, elegaic…
in the beginning the cellar door soliloquy
was an elegaic meander of god >>>
fundamental, omnipotent, insubstantiate like any angel
but there, not fickle after all —
such that when one rose up from four to two limbs
with a brain craving saving, you too could walk across water
you too could eat a last supper
be nailed upon a cross, could shed your blood
for those in need
why, we are all, are we not? christs-in-waiting
for some small time — alas, time, Time!
the problem, what endures is revered:
primal fear, loathe of endings —
had christ had been in the alphabet soup of my
upbringing he now could loll off the tongue
like a snake hiss or lover’s kiss: chrissssssssst,
beautiful like all beautiful agonies
in which to bathe daily as at a font
to have some thing to thank/blame/cajole/defile
when trains roll in each morning and late at night —
frightful the tri-note whistle, the loneliness of trains,
giant snakes wending the world like giant snakes
like unto sadness over every bird that falls
ah, still settles like heresy upon the soul —
and the arsenal of coping is an empty coffer
crypt with dust despite a wind that never nods
to survive another day — redeemed — christ everywhere,
in the air + the trees + the blustering sun
in dreams in waking in any sentient eyes,
in rock and cloud and water —
one can use a savior in any way, that’s what it’s for —
a crown to one’s thorns, a poppy, a weed awash
in the blood of the most ordinary rose.

* * * * *

A Kentucky native raised in Atlanta, GA, Julianza (Julie) Shavin is a composer, poet, and visual artist who adopted CO as home in 1993. A recipient of three Pikes Peak Arts Council grants, she was named 2011 Pikes Peak Arts Council Performance Poet of the Year; in 2012, Page Poet. Her poems are published regularly in print and online. A classically-trained pianist who has played all genres of music professionally in venues such as fine arts centers, folk concerts, art shows, fund-raising functions, restaurants and casinos, she has recently resumed cello studies. Shavin has had several one-woman art shows and been juried into others; some literary magazines have used her work as cover or inside art.  As past-President of Poetry West, she served as editor of the thirtieth anniversary issue of its literary magazine, “The Eleventh Muse.” Currently, she serves as Vice-President, and has been Workshop Coordinator for four years. She is an animal-welfare advocate and activist, and can be seen about town demonstrating against circuses and rodeos; much of her work for animals is accomplished online.