Blessed is the mattress on which they feast.
Blessed the yellow sheet on which she lies,
blessed her skin and blessed are her breasts,
and blessed are the body’s lamps, her eyes
lighting the room, rolling in dream, in lies,
and blessed is the darkness that descends
and carries them through sleep. Blessed the ways
of limbs entwined, a tangle without end
that only lack of love or death or time
can untie. Blessed mouth that eats the wool
pants and the folded sweaters, blessed blind
pink worm that digs, the insect in the wall
that feeds on them like rot in fruit yet gives
them years alive with blessings in their lives.
From “Sad Jazz: Sonnets” (Sheep Meadow Press, 2005).
Tony Barnstone is the Albert Upton Professor of English at Whittier College, author of 13 books and writer/producer of a CD of original music based on his book of World War II poems, “Tongue of War.” Among his awards are the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, a fellowship from the California Arts Council, the Poets Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts.