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Poetry

Holy Week again:
            unleavened sky,
all tensions held past hold. Mostly,
what I feel
is the unlikelihood.

These days, pick a miracle,
            there’s science
to explain it. Say it’s nighttime
in the Garden, Jesus praying
in a bloody sweat:

Hematidrosis—rare; not unknown—
            collapsed capillaries
in the sweat glands releasing
secretions of salt
and blood.            

Hematidrosis, then,
            while the others
slept off the wine.
Vessels reaching breaking strain,
even in the Son of Man.

Late March, now,
            in the secular world, and cold.
We grumble our annual doubts,
but we know
how spring works:

capillary pressures build,
            urging sap to meniscus;
each bud casts off its brittle
chrysalis—space, itself,
breaks

into spaciousness—
            a transfiguration so absolute
as to wrench the dimensions
of the given
open.

No miracle, then. Just one of those
            moments of discomposure,
moments when anything
might break into
Anything:

suspension become saturation,
            borders buckling into wings
in the chambers
of our wrenched-wide hearts.
Pheromones, if you insist.

But it’s Holy Week,
            and someone is dying
in ordinary time, knows
he’s dying, understands
the mechanism

of his death, has been given
            the number of his days,
counts in his dreams
his bones. When this one,
reaching

the breaking strain of flesh, lifts
            his nearly unliftable eyelids
to a final dawn, might he, too,
not rise, might he
not pass

through the grid of appearance
            to drain the cup
of mercy’s meniscus and suffer
a transfiguration
no more excessive

than spring, no more
            astounding
than the annual miracle
of God’s heart breaking
open again
to human love?


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