Cambridge Commons

Mary Ann Honaker

I keep seeing you in the Commons,
the battle just finished, the blood
still dripping from the trees. Walking
the broad paths, looking up at the monument
of Lincoln. The Sheraton-Commander is very old,
you know, standing over the scene
with its immense weight, its heavy curtains,
its gaudy sign. You walk in and out among
the patterns of the shadows of trees.
Maybe you sit, like Buddha under the bodhi tree.
Only this isn’t enlightenment, this is
much more terrible.

You don’t smoke pot with the homeless gutter punks.
You don’t lie in the sun on a blanket
with your lover. You are alone this time.
Maybe this is prophecy, maybe my pious fantasy.

There’s that moment when you get it,
finally, and the years of your life are tied together
with spools of light. You are present at last
to the hum of cars moving up and down Mass Ave,
to the sound of squirrels moving through the cropped grass,
digging through discarded potato chip bags.

And it’s all just fine. A deep breath.
History lining up like prim soldiers.
Over here, Washington took command of the troops.
See, here is the very tree his horse stood under,
swatting away flies with its thick tail.

Angels walk in the tops of the trees.
Maybe you can see them, maybe you can’t.
They swat away your fears like flies.
Peace be still. Everything will be all right.

Mary Ann Honaker holds a BA in philosophy from West Virginia University and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She has previously published poetry in Harvard’s The Dudley Review and Crawlspace of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In her writings she primarily explores the transformative power of love and the intersection of the spiritual world with mundane reality.