“They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,”
Sue told me:
students, she meant, suffering tunnel vision that comes
from too much work, the crazy fear of not knowing
their finished selves.
I realized, suddenly, that no tunnels cover us
not of our own making; the secret I am now learning
is that everything is light.
Like what the priest said on Palm Sunday.
Holy Week happens, he insisted,
when you make it holy,
when all that is sacred in you
touches each sanctified leaf,
each blessed moment,
Even death, which I have stopped fearing,
even on Good Friday when too many
I love have died.
(They are only dead for a moment.)
Even the cross is light, a candle
with a living flame that seared
my heart long before I arrived.
And when it flickered,
the world stopped turning on its old axis
and found a new line
around which to spin.
The revolution began
with this turning of the temple veil,
this quaking and total eclipse.
Even this darkness
was light, brighter than our eyes could see.
Even my father-in-law, dying slowly in my house,
still calling the name of his wife, a year now gone,
each morning as he wakes,
the smooth skin of his swollen feet,
the whisper of white hair that he combs each day,
his large hands that hold onto my shoulders
when we walk in faltering steps
into the light of each new morning,
of what lies ahead.
Watching Will’s Easter Vigil baptism,
With flame, oil, water, words
Changing him into something
Suddenly new, not unexpected
Yet it surprised me to see him
In this light, and I don’t know why
But I thought of the Fisher King story
And saw myself as the old man
Fishing by a dead stream
Waiting to drink from the cup,
and then I did,
and what wounds I wore like proud badges
I saw as bloody ulcers
and asked for forgiveness,
for a cool drink of water.