Good Friday 2007

“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,

is beautiful,

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,

the light

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.


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