Morning Mist Flooded Valley

We climbed to the heights
where the sun was clearly visible,
illuminating the blue sky, a canopy stretched,
the moon, a dappled, white fingerprint,
and the encircling dunes.

We rested, silently, as the mist slowly, steadily receded.

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The First Day of the Week, part 3

“His body is missing.”
Mary’s announcement,
Blurted out between gasps,
Made them follow her,
Both running scared.

And what she said was true.
Only rags were left behind,
Neatly folded.

At least one of them paused only a moment
Before continuing on to work.

But Mary stayed,
Too emotional to keep any of her other appointments.

Too emotional to recognize the voice of a friend,
Until he lovingly whispered her name.

Stop crying and listen, sweet sister,
Sweet brother.
His whisper, like his father’s, is still and small.

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The First Day of the Week, part 2

In the morning traffic of the first day of the week,
Perhaps Mary’s frantic running,
After finding the tomb opened and the body gone,
Did not seem unusual.

Perhaps no one noticed the tears streaming down her cheeks.

How many people drive to work each week,
With tears that no one else notices?
Perhaps in their circumstances, too,
What looks like disaster
Might only be a moment before resurrection.

God only knows.

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The First Day of the Week

It is Sunday, the first day
Of the working week here in this city.
The traffic is hurrying;
Drivers’ heads are full of lists:
Bring children to school
9 AM meeting
Lunch with clients
Review new office blueprint
Piano lessons
What’s for dinner?

It was Sunday, the first day
Of the working week in that city.
The traffic was hurrying;
Everyone’s head was full of lists.

Mary’s was, too:
Sweet Marjoram
Someone to open the tomb


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You’re fat

Today in the lobby I met a friend, who is a maid on the third floor of our building.
We hugged, and I reminded her that we met in the elevator on Easter four years ago.
She joyfully announced that she would be free to go to church on Good Friday.
And then she said,

“You’re fat.”

“Oh, I hope not,”  I replied, smoothing the stomach of my poofy blouse.

I don’t remember any more of our conversation.
As soon as I could I changed out of the baggy trousers I was wearing
into my snuggest jeans.

I think she meant the words to let me know that she noticed me,
and the changes in my body,
and, perhaps even, that she was glad I was well-fed.
I’m sure she didn’t know these words would play and re-play
incessantly, accusingly all day long.

“You’re fat…you’re fat…um, yes…you’re fat.”

How many times a day do I say or do something that impacts
my friends from other cultures in ways I don’t intend?
Who will be brave enough to let me know?

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The Cure, Part 2

You can identify my feet by their scars:

On the right a pale, wrinkly band,
Reminder of the time I, sun blinded,
Intending to pour the recently boiling pasta water
Into a sink of dirty dishes,
Instead poured it onto my foot;

On the left, the diagonal track
of the surgeon’s scalpel and stitches,
where he corrected the errant corner
of a congenitally misshapen bone.

She doesn’t call attention to these things that cannot be changed,
but instead quietly works on the parts that can be changed,
using warm, soapy water, lotions and polish.

And even though it won’t show,
She massages away the aches
Of too much standing and serving;
She works away some of the consequences
Of carrying the weight of too much self-indulgence.

In the presence of her muscular gentleness,
I realize:
Unless I submit to the servant-care of another,
I will never have beautiful feet.

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The Cure

His words always echo in my mind
as the basin of warm, bubbly water is carried
so slowly that it does not slosh
and I submerge both feet,
enjoying the exquisite pleasure.

“Ye ought also to wash one another’s feet.”

She, not He, comes with a towel
across her lap,
in no rush to begin.

She concentrates on the cuticles, the hang nails, the callouses,
attentively, energetically
laboring to make the rough places smooth,
the old places as soft as a baby’s skin,
creating, in the process, beside her on the floor,
a pile of the dust of me.

I try hard not to uncover my ugliness,
my nakedness, to others.
And others don’t typically dare to focus so completely
on ridding me of my flaws
and of the tangible effects of the world
rubbing me habitually in the wrong way.

But this is what You called us to do.
“Ye ought also to wash one another’s feet.”

Watching  her gentleness, her humility, her quietness,
I begin to learn exactly how that might be done.

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