The first age was a small red berry
the bud of humanity and the red fruit
in the garden at dawn. Some great
unknown is about to escape
into the present tense, so clear
that only God can see it
all the way about a circumference,
chopped half in diameter,
rose of the birth and love and death
we risked, a world that is more than all others.
The second age was a tall grass,
with a sharp blade to cut heaven open,
demanding justice below, attention
from the sleeping oort clouds
on the edge of angelic vision.
Fertile, waving tan in the sun
we raise our crescent scythe
and the grains shoot through the veins
of every tree for generations.
The third age was a red leaf. Mother
told me a story before she lost her mind
about an Egyptian princess who was not from around here
and tried to get home to the blue isle of Patmos
with slippers from the white gold of the sun.
Their white star towers and scroll heaps
begging to be picked up and cradled again.
The fourth age was the near extirpation
of all the red gold, the blue isle.
Sleepy after so much upward fluidity
we gave up the longing, been a longtime
since last we loved You, last we lifted
Your meal to our mouths.
Don’t remember the red berry. I always wanted
to eat it but my mama said it was poison.
That was before she got sick. Afterward,
she didn’t care. There were to be five ages
like fingers on one hand, star tips when
we drew them up in the heavens,
and everyone of them whispers
up where they’re hanging.
Back to Magellan cloud and Hubble’s dreaming,
back to before so much red and the want of gold
and before the sharp curve of the grain.
The fifth age was and is and is yet to be,
an outstretched conifer filled with the light
from the top mast of its canopy,
the light is its ocean, and the wind is its waves,
and all its limbs are pointing upward and laughing.
I have been told by the one I love
who is like the sunrise in the forest:
This is why we have words and arms
and red and gold and blue isles
and star clouds and all the ages.
It is because, in the beginning,
it was all so clear, so mathematically perfect
that only god and God’s garden
could get it.