Lola Returns – a poem by Richard Ryal

Lola Returns

With this miracle ended, I miss most the nectar
that saturated me. Long I’ve raged against
all that isn’t nectar
and all that I’ve mistaken for nectar.
My world is now a ghost of honey
that falls like a shadow from the nectar
that shines though me, the nectar
whose golden halo makes me disappear
without dying, lets me disappear
into the flow and folds of this nectar
that bathes me until I emerge
cleaned and perfumed with honey. I emerge

from the world I knew and watch a new world emerge
from the burden of miraculous nectar
I’ve somehow placed on it. I emerge
as a woman I don’t know, and I will emerge
through veils and baffles my spirit will tangle against
because my world is unkind to all who emerge
into it. If I succeed, I will emerge
as a tinge of honey
in the daylight, then a strange glow of darker honey
in the night, and then a memory will emerge 
of someone who had to disappear
to make the old world disappear.

How complicated. How easily this nectar will disappear
and old urges and bitterness emerge
if the new me can’t remember, when I disappear,
the work it took to make my old life disappear
forever in the nectar.
I pray this moment to disappear
so the new me won’t disappear.
I try to sort out this challenge against
the mirror logic of miracles, pit my new self against
my old fears and weaknesses. I want to disappear
into the sacramental honey
that surrounds me here, to drown in this honey

and leave no indentation in the face of the honey.
I pray my reflection will disappear
and light be wasted no more on me. This honey
is its own light, this honey
is a lantern from which golden lights emerge.
This honey
is a perfect food, a healing, this honey
already replaces my memories with nectar,
with new memories of a nectar
that drowned a body, a room, in a world of honey.
And the gates of death will collapse against
the tide of this light, my history will fail against

its flow. I cry out against
my old life, curse it, but a pool of honey
fills my mouth, drowns my tongue against
its sweet pressure. I waver and lean against
my bed, feel my will drain and disappear.
I begin to lose my struggle against
my weariness, the undertow flows against
my heart’s desires. Helpless, I emerge
into a light that isn’t honey. My senses emerge
from the wonders they drank and they flutter against
the sight of this room drained of its nectar.
I am suddenly blind to the honey and nectar.

Later, I’ll be surprised at times by the taste of nectar
but can’t live in constant bliss against
the buzzing in my mind. I’ll often sneak a spoon of honey
and briefly let myself disappear
and try to hide from myself until it’s time to again emerge.

This poem is from an unpublished collection titled The Ecstasy of St. Lola. They consider a young nun named Sister Lola who experiences a profound religious experience. 

A poet, professor, and editor, Richard Ryal has worked in marketing and higher education. He stops for every poem he hasn’t read before, and no one can talk him out of doing that. His recent publications include Notre Dame ReviewSheila-Na-GigThe South Florida Poetry Journal, and Survision.

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