Poetry Issue 5

   Issue#5: July - December 2005

Kristine Domingo

When it is Pardon

      Somewhere in the penalties
      or in a decision, I am certain.
      Once found it will be
      as if I had all along known
      in the flurry it would be stashed
      in the last drawer—
      a body at rest from memory.

      But for the Redeemer
      out of wood and its yellowed walls,
      all had been white—
      a room in the small town,
      fluorescence over a cot.
      My grandfather wasn’t dying,
      wasn’t even hearing a word of it
      from a circle part apology,
      part intervention
      on how breathing was to be
      about running after his breath,
      kicking the habit of lighting up.
      I didn’t know these days
      lawyers had time to be doctors,
      he had coughed.

      Tense laughter had ended
      further diagnosis. Why
      I think of amnesty instead—
      easier in terms of everyone, easier
      to make everyone face the wall
      than each other.
      Back in the city a phone rings,
      the cross is the first to go.
      A conviction affirmed crumbles
      from a new moon between blinds.
      At this same time
      tomorrow it will be so certain
      he has spent the day
      by the waves, following advice
      on prayer, first steps to recovery.

      The knob at times slips. Something
      out of its case rolls to an edge.
      It is a matter that cannot be undone.
      My palm that had been my grasp has
      his first tremble, then
      a sudden formality of all that may have
      unraveled someplace, inside.