Number Seven Shaker Rocking Chair

In rock maple with a medium stain:
the arms first arch, then flare away with love,
as they separated parent and child, man and wife.
Tape-back, raffia and Indian red make a herringbone

of weeping and shouting to catch in the throat of praise,
their singing and speaking in tongues that could be heard
two miles away. Without pity, each rocker blade,
and rising never so strong as by spindle-shank lightness

to where the pommels lie under each hand plumply.
From worldlings, no temperate labor could save them,
no six celestial clusters of white plum,
no godhead divided in male and female equally.

Holding itself apart from knowledge, alone
in its beauty and doom as John Lyon was,
who found himself islanded by his own tears
when he woke from a vision of salvation,

this is a chair of torment, a Cassiopeia’s chair,
turning empty around the nightly pole
past the labor of hands, the spirit world permeable,
past mildness and strict belief and its dead dare.