Souls

hands-in-prayer1There are so many souls worth saving
the face wreathed in roses whose eyes tell tales from
before civilization when trees were sturdy giant ferns cut from crystal
the grandmother with ten white horses on a steep green hillside
whose middle name is a secret she calls on to heal
the cut finger the burnt tongue the earache the limp
the mental hesitation
the twelve old men from the remote mountain village
all brothers from the same mother and father
all twelve so filled with natural goodness and so
physically alike the townspeople call each one of them
Joseph

So many Lord on this raw earth of sharp ice and
wild flame saw teeth and soft rollers

The shy schoolteacher in the ghetto
who smuggles her paycheck money into various lunchboxes
the girl of six who stands up for the boy in class who peed his pants
against the taunts of the others
the fireman who hears a cry and suddenly sees
the Celestial City shimmering through columns of flame
and walks through them to his Lord

Lord the cries of endurance and laughter of terror
these human souls You fashion out of
red dust and divine breath on a
mountaintop we may never see
then lay them into wombs and later into
tombs to be assembled before You on that Awesome Day
no cranes cross a bronze sky
no dust mote floats in the still air

And our souls stand out like diamonds on black velvet
like trumpets in a library


10/18/2001 (from Where Death Goes)

Categories: Death, Poems

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