Poetry

Poetry

Prodigal

The farmer has shown up with the sun,
the two conspiring to work the land together.

It’s May. Time for blades to dig in.
Furrow a fresh start.

And you’d like to join in. You’d like to whistle
the sun over to you like an obedient dog,

tell it to sit, right there, and stay while you seek
forgiveness. For too long, you’ve been trapped,

burrowing with your bare hands tunnel after dead-
end tunnel, stubborn, refusing to change

direction as you search for the yellow face
of escape to glow before your eyes, unveil

the mysterious egress. Go.
You can see it now. Turn

your hands over like the dirt at your knees,
the soil on that field. And go.

Leave your flashlight behind.















The empty tomb

      John 20

That woman was the first word spoken
must have taken even the angels by surprise,

who were used to bringing their fiery glory
down to the clanging swords of battlefields,

to priests tugging at their beards
in lamentation, to voices thundering in temples

and muscles hefting stones from mountaintops,
not to a trembling woman whose hair clung

to her neck with tears, who for a moment
held the souls of the nations like a basket of figs.









Daughter

I don’t remember. I was twelve, not yet
aware of how a parent dies before
a child’s bewilderment. I lay beset
by fever, lost to life. I will not bore

you reconstructing how they called my name
and wept. They were perhaps more deeply stricken
than some, my father’s leadership a claim
on God’s beneficence. I’ve forgotten—

I don’t remember anger. What stays
with me is waking to voices about
my bed, one voice clear in the haze
of wonder, and Father’s joyous shout.

So long ago now! I live bound by that surprise,
and long to hear again that voice “Daughter, arise."





The vigil

How did he do it?
Open those good hands,
spread his five fingers wide
to receive the blunt nails?
Hear the crack of bone,
delicate wingwork of phalanx and carpal?
Hang the weight of his whole self
from those soft clay doves
and trust them to hold?
To hold?

They flutter light.
Brush against the good wood.
His mother’s eye catches,
watches as she used to watch
beside her dreaming child
those white birds of paradise
gently reach
for some thing lost,
some thing left behind,
a kingdom he saw about to come.

Reflections in a spoon

Hunger is a bowl of reflected light,
a concave mirror of flight,
an image reversed,
the breech birth
of an angel floating from Earth
feet first.