YOU ARE HERE
(after Rainer Maria Rilke’s Book of Hours)
You are the now and not-yet, the darkened dawn just before
the first rays rise and you are the rays that pierce and prod.
You are the siren screeching through city streets
dropping me to my knees in prayer.
You are the lilac and the dust,
the refugee’s body found on shore with empty pockets.
You are the wound that does not heal, the salve,
the bandage, and the raised scar that remains.
You are the dandelion growing through concrete cracks,
the mirror smashed into pieces, the mosaic created.
You are the vigil for my mother dying, you are the steady beep
of the heartrate monitor and the long tone that makes me wail.
You are ash from the burning towers
the great gashed tree felled by storm, now moss-coated, silent.
You are the gray headstone and the red bird that lands and sings,
the gaunt face I ignore while rushing down the street.
You are the old man’s spectacles
and the love letters from his wife now gone.
You are thick grime, a sob stuck in the throat,
the voice long silent speaking once again.
from Christine Valters Paintner's The Wisdom of Wild Grace