I go to church every Sunday though I don’t believe a word of it, because the longing for God is a prayer said in the bones. When people call on Jesus I move to a place in the body where such words rise, one of the valleys where hope pins itself to desire; we have so much landscape like that you’d think we were made to sustain a cry. When the old men around me lift their hands as though someone has cornered them, giving it all away, I remember a dock on the estuary, watching a heron get airborne against the odds. It’s the transitional moment that baffles me— how she composes her rickety grocery cart of a body to make that flight. The pine siskin, stalled on a windy coast, remembers the woods she will long for when needs arise; so the boreal forest composes itself in my mind: first as a rift, absence, then in a tumble of words undone from sense, like the stutter you hear when somebody falls over the cliff of language. Call it a gift.
"Art is what remains when the pot is broken." —Chinese proverb I know we are bound to the earth, and the cracked heart, old terra cotta, surrenders to vine. Listen—I've seen wind stir the hair of the dead at Belsen, growing like art from the lacing grass; what is terrible, even, rises. The ruined pot dreams of ignition, each molecule coddles its flame. Enough alphabet for a torah sits on the tongue. And all shards from the winds' end gather again. I know we are bound to the earth by desire's green thread or the milk snake's slippery pass. Hepatica splits now from its leaf-wing. Out of the vessel's wreck, inwardness forms on the air and that ghost tenderly enters the soul of some mortal thing.