Third Letter to John

           Having been drawn again to your account, as if by a whirlpool, I remain grateful for your fleshing his speaking in letters. As always we’ll disagree about signs. But I respect your honest admission of selection and understand your wine-to-blood arrangement in a frame of light. More important, you get the glint and grit of the sand in his voice.

           A voice so insistent in the dark I have to close your book to sleep. Awake, I return to my texts, and they suggest other texts, and they in turn gesture beyond the desert where a raven marks the edge of many circles. I can’t escape that son-of-man’s voice. Explain. How in his brief time on earth had he come to shepherd such a flock of words?

           Age can resent this, but instead I was exhilarated, as you know, going out of my way for his way of speaking. Taking words in his teeth, confronting and evading at will, just as he moved deliberately from place to place like a guerilla. The man’s mouth could taste its own fate. His unnerving certainty, his radiance like the firefly’s—uncanny, as if the circumference were within. Exuberance of youth? Maybe arrogance and recklessness come with the conviction of immortality. I only know that the circumference still expands going forward to eternity.

All these years John, and you’ve called me reprobate on occasion, but in this we’re one: being close to him, the spray of his voice in our face, we were most alive.