Elegy for Joe Cardella, Marsha dela O

Poem by a Stone Wall

                                    Art saves lives.
                                                                Joe Cardella

The thing is art doesn’t save your life just once, it has to do it over and over. 

He walked the earth armored in sorrow, birds crying above his head. 
He’d been saved at least a thousand times, just look at his house. 

Let’s say the daughter of justice wept.  Let’s say the daughter of mercy wept. 
And then finally, the struggle ended. 

He’s our child of slow time now; he’s our own cracked vase. 

The thing is the heart already has a fracture line; the thing is to make art anyway. 
You can hold it in your hands and turn it.  You can work slowly. 

Let’s try on a dream for size. Let’s revise the afterlife. 

A bronze south wind and holy olive tree, bulbs glinting underground,
a stone wall facing the sea where he can sit at twilight

and watch swallows swoop into eternity, first evening star blinking on.

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