The Exile’s Return

/, Blesok no. 13/The Exile’s Return

The Exile’s Return

The Exile"s Return
The City of Last Things
Wittgenstein"s House
The Study of Freud
Homage to Saint Cyril
The Language of Angels

It was on
Ithaka, of course, when I began again
thinking of eagles and the horse’s death. That day,
in Macedonia, frigid with calm, I hiked the Matka
gorge with Bogomil, whose name means “blessèd

of God,” and his young son Borjan. We meant
to witness the monastery of Saint Andrew, whose
looming presence rises up the walls of the tiny
church and whose angel’s wings peak in solemn

shadow, cast by the infrequent light longing from
the south. Instead, we found the horse, tossed on
the doorstep of the locked shrine—black with death—
collapsed on stone. His heart, it seemed, had burst

from work. Consumed by need, flies made a feast
of swirling air. Stunned by the dead eye and swollen
tongue, I swear I heard his last panicked gasp. That
day, in Tajikistan, nearing the Iranian border, I felt

the slight compress of panels and the cockpit window
explode and then everything was silence, save for that
frigid blast that blew against us from the Kyrgiz steppe.
I died, that day, though I remained at the controls with

that wounded jet and would “recover” my crew and land.
But I would never recover. That day, in Ithaka, the three
of us naked on a sheltered beach. Perfect peace, and then
our dog, Vuk, her brain a mess of chemical reactions, leaps

after a herd of goats and almost off a cliff. And Gaia, still
a baby, is stung suddenly by wasps, and stops breathing—
for a moment. If you have ever held a razor to your daughter’s
throat to save her life, you might know how … horror

fashioned out of image. That day in Matka gorge, when we
did not enter the black mouth of the church or see the fresco
of The Agony in the Garden, we climbed down the icy path
and met the woodsman with a chainsaw. It had been his

horse he worked to death. And he was sorry, true, but
resolved to carve the carcass up and drag the last remains
to the peaks so that the flesh was food for eagles who lived
up there. That, he said, was the proper way to pass. And

so it could be: as if we all were food for eagles. When you
transform a life, there comes a clarity that seems almost clear.
Sweet Jesus, when you kneel and the wings beat against your
cheek and talons claw your wretched heart. What do you have

but wisdom, exile? When it seems the days we thought we
had been promised were the days we were already destined
to have had, only then. Spirit of earth, a black sun shudders
and we set off: empty, whole. Your life is in your hands.

the village of Xionн, Ithaka, Greece

AuthorP.H. Liotta
2018-08-21T17:23:55+00:00 March 1st, 2000|Categories: Poetry, Blesok no. 13|0 Comments