The truth lit from behind
We so quickly claim that our time
this day, this moment, is full
of more struggle than others,
those who are now ghosts and memory,
that somehow the strain has grown–
Never before, they say–
No one has ever–
The bow slides sharply across the string,
and the note soars past what our ears can hear,
but we feel it,
skin pulled tight against a bone
in this time that is our own.
My grandfather was shot five times
in the war, left for dead on the
cold Italian dirt while others sang carols
in candle-lit churches,
a young widow grieving at home until
the news came days later–
what of those tears she had shed?
When he was an old man,
my wife once saw an x-ray of his chest,
the shape of his heart there on the wall,
the truth lit from behind
with the thin lines of metal dust
streaking across his torso,
five paths to follow
from youth to adulthood with eyes
open to life, stretched so wide.
Threads strain to hold
the patterns we crave to sew together.
Jesus said something about
new wine in old wineskins,
and I need to read that again.
We don’t see life as it is,
we see life as we are.
The wise have always known this
to be true, with our call to cleanse
the lens of our own sight,
to gently polish the glass
on which we press our faces,
looking, always searching.
My eye rests on the flower made of flame
that stands tall among the stones
as I take my next step,
as will those who follow.
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