Raphael P. Maurice
To Go To Hell For This, Love
At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment, how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sages, philosophers, blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish than ever before from applause.. – Tertullian

As you lay across a fallen oak, I grew
grateful, like many heartsick boys, to God.
To my wizard who made this scene--
the forest, the jewel-birds singing in rows,
an owl’s green erudition haunting its perch.
O, the ease when you, the dream, leapt into my lap.
Your body an electric map,
all for our roaming. Though some virgin-ghost does
peer into our hell, & crosses out our country names--
I was in love, & claimed that right.

Now, more than I care to mention, sleepless,
you come again to purr, though my wife’s body stirs
predictably near. Missing the ease of your sunlit hair—
as I shuffle along, cleaved & wedded to the world.
In dreams I breathe god-made fumes,
lucky to sense the blaze that swallows whole.

Could you, nearest to me, measure what took place within
our choir of a forest, when we finished,
woke & let our bodies sing again?