by Louis Girón

In the garden on that summer’s evening, I was singing for no reason,
when the moon opened; and I saw new stars within its smile.
They drew near and sang with me, and I to them,
though I drew no breath and they had no mouths,
and I could no longer hear myself nor any chorus of insect night.

And then I heard and next I felt the beating of hearts
of those I had always known, of those I had never known,
of those I scarcely knew before      —      and of those I had always wanted to know;
and, more, I knew the hopes of those multitudes.

I knew in the tingling seconds just thereafter that a miracle had passed.
I was boneless to grasp how it had come to be      —
and had no hope in this life for another such wonder
so that next I despaired that I could not remember more

—      except for dimming, escaping melodies; a high tremolo
without overtones; and a piping vanishing into forever

—      and, except for that enduring moon-smile,
shield to want, sword to desire, and antidote to sorrow,
a stern and enigmatic smile like that of the Buddha Himself
who next emerged barefoot out of the shadows and from the wet earth;

and who leaped out to and then upon and then from the lily pads;
and among the shadows he danced the dance of endings,
and in the star light we danced the dance of beginnings,
to a melody that up to then I had forgotten but I had never stopped singing
so that now it flowed from shadow to light, then from light to shadow
to the tabla of all heartbeats, clinging to the earth, gathering, then rising.

Louis Girón was reared in San Antonio, Texas, served as a battalion surgeon in Viet Nam, and spent his professional life in the Midwest. He now lives near the Swannanoa River where neighborhood bears—instead of rattlesnakes—greet him at the mailbox. He came to poetry late after a completed poem sprang up unexpectedly in the middle of a budget for a research grant. What began as a curiosity—or as a sign of mental illness—now continues as a necessity.

About Gloria—I do not recall how this poem arose. It may have been born in the small hours of earliest morning when quirky thoughts are most lively and when magic and other realities feel they must touch the skin and move the pen. Or perhaps it came just after emerging from sleep, or while listening in my head to the Celtic music that I heard last the evening before.