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January 2016 vol 11 no 4

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Bill Gottlieb

Three Devotees

There are three structures all the time, always three measures, three designs, said the Lord to a gathering of his devotees.

What are the odds of two other devotees standing to my right, in front of the two other tellers in this bank, on this day, this hour, this minute, moment – the moment I am closing her account, her death certificate freighting the teller’s shuffling hands on its way to some solemn slit I’ll never see?

across the street, her pharmacy
I take
death daily

His grace has been staying with my heart. The eager needs and endings. The delight and desolation. The load of loneliness, drilling my cells. All seem to be in my Lord, in his wide, high body of light, his circling life. I say his hallowing name and he is eminent, radiant amidst the dim remains, the standards of dust.

Dear Not,
I have a heartache

It’s a trifecta, I say, loud as an announcement, silly with surprise. Lisa, Isabelle, Billy. Three devotees, our mutual lover the Lord. They both look up, are mired in a moment of moderate shock – how do you greet the emissary of sorrow? what words do you use with the wanting widower? – get a grip on the regular, walk over one by one, woman by woman, hug the husband of the ghost. Everyone is patient with the mortal man; they know he’s here to disinter her dollars. Everyone is eager to ease. And suddenly love is obvious as sight, is given readily in an open hand, a helping hand, from the infinite friend of the vagrant world, from sly simultaneity, unity’s enchantment, from my lavish and laughing and trichotomously manifesting Lord.

you could
you did
take me with you