Pen in hand

I grope in the darkness
seeking the lineaments of your face.

My fingers made for handling matter
your divinity passes through untouched

except for my longing, which
registers, I trust, with you.

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O Holy Day!

What then I saw is more than tongue can say.
Our human speech is dark before the vision.
The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri

As words failed Dante to describe Paradise
words fail me as I look to the woods
except for the barest verbal skeleton––
trees, brush, sunlight, shadow.

How common. How plain. How failed
a poet, who can only say thank you
for this holy day in mid-September
rife with aster and goldenrod
before the killing frost.

A Wedding Song

Let the book fall open where it will.
There, your direction for the day.

Deaths listed on the left.
On the right, the title page:
The New Testament

begins here today as
The Renewed Testament.

From this day forward
what you write will be
for better, for worse
for richer, for poorer
in sickness and in health

my life being lived as a woman’s
life is lived on the planet now.

Merton and Fire [in Holy Week]

A divine informant came to Merton
when he was still a young man
with the promise, I will give you what
you desire; I will lead you into solitude.

Everything that touches you
shall burn you, and you will draw
your hand away in pain until
you have withdrawn yourself

from all things. Then you will be all
alone … that you may become
the brother of God and learn to know
the Christ of the burnt men.

Why the Tears?

I sat across the table from you
leaking tears and talking, talking
trying to put my finger on why I wept
and felt embarrassed in a class where we
discussed the abuse of women and girls.

The tears began as I tried to articulate the need
for awareness of all those who at that moment
(when we were discussing their situations
in a much removed room at divinity school)
were alone in their abuse, with no relief in sight.

Trying to discern the reason for tears
while explaining to you the sense of distance
I felt between me and my body,
me and my skin, even while the invitation
to fill that space hung in the air.

What else would God do but weep? you said.
I rode your words bareback into that space
where compassion closed the gap. I felt
how the heart of God is the part of how
we are one with ourselves and with each other.