Pedometer attached to her belt, your mother, spry and strong
at eighty, joins the other Methodist Church members
in calculating the 5, 915 miles, no matter the weather, to add up
all the way from Linesville, Pennsylvania to Jerusalem.
They need not worry about miracles or pausing
at the signs of the cross. They need not stop for security
to check their purses for weapons. They need no visa
nor baggage, no money to exchange for shekels, no guide-
book, no guide. They need no ancient tongue or prophecies.
They are, simply, day by day, walking, mile after mile:
from the sink to the table, uptown to the post office, down
the block to visit the sick neighbor. Sundays to and from church.
And when they walk far enough, adding up their pedometers
together, they will arrive in Jerusalem. And keep walking.
What We Own
I followed you down the switchback trail of the Grand Canyon and we slept
in a crevice, and we own that,
and we own those moments tossing the football in front of 4073 Wyncote Road
until the streetlights snapped on,
and we own the smoke bomb the cops threw at us and a few thousand others
at the Jefferson Airplane concert, Akron, Ohio, 1972,
and we own the whole country we passed through, all the way to the ocean,
where we checked into a hotel and you discovered, lying atop Gideon’s Bible,
a black film canister’s worth of weed and half-a-pack of rolling papers,
and we smoked it, and it was good, unbelieving of our luck,
which we own, and the lunar landscape surrounding our tent in Big Bend, Texas,
and the stars, so clear we could read by them, and did,
and we own The Godfather—Part One—on the big screen of that packed theater
in Evanston, Illinois, and we own that fear
when were lost in the Tennessee woods, into the dark, and you followed
some analytical instinct until we found—lo and behold—a road,
and Bob Dylan, who was ours, and Joan Baez, who was also ours, singing
“The Times They Are A-Changing” in the War Memorial,
and watching the Indians—miracles of miracles—beat the New York Yankees
at Yankee Stadium during the 1995 heatwave—that, too, that victory, was ours,
and I remember how quiet you sometimes were, and I asked about it, and you said it’s a feeling you
get, you don’t know how to talk about it, and I’d like to think
we own that feeling—how we bested the myths. We didn’t become murderer
and victim. We didn’t cheat on the other’s birthright.
Oh, my brother of the other world, my brother who perhaps will greet me
when I arrive at that place prepared for by our father,
who is now joined by his own flesh and blood, which is not blood, which is not flesh, but bones and
which we believe in, like the moon, or the unpredictable Cleveland weather,
or the way the snow descends on the fallen leaves,
or how the sun glazes them now, for their moment, stirred in the slight wind,
the same wind that blew the Jerusalem dust in our faces, which we own.