After the fact

I know you by the space
you leave empty.

I draw lines in the air
where the roof used to be.

I wait for you, Lord,
like a mailbox for a letter.

The grass still wonders
how the ground got there.

November funeral

(In memoriam, Roger Lundin, 1949–2015)

Outside the year’s first snow means crashes, spin-
outs, brutal shock to unprotected skin,
a harbinger of winter’s dreary night.

Inside is peace as through translucent panes
we view a world grown still where silence reigns
and trees are finely etched in tender light.

Deep under brutal, surging waves of grief
wild rushing waters pound with no relief
the unprotected bark of life capsized.

Yet deeper down there comes a still small voice,
“I am with you, in river’s rage rejoice
that all baptized with me in death shall rise.”

                    Advent 2015

Dull reader

Dear reader, when your readers seem dull
as dusk, be patient and recall
that place you must have skimmed in Paul
a dozen times, and never noticed at all.


Spring in the garden edge, a periwinkle maze—
O Lord of spill and swell.       I will not disappoint
you now, he says; I’ve honed your cell’s repairs.

The human ware is slippery in our hands; an ankle
twists, breaks on a granite ledge; joint
failure of a stone and heel, the puddled stairs . . .

And so, God digs into his resurrection—
a funny rib and tooth, a good and solid shoulder:
the hidden measure of largesse.

Imagine, in a yard, another bone to spare; imagine—
long and grassy. For grasses err in favor
of excess . . .       Ah, isn’t that the Word, excess?   

    Not just repaired: pampered, festooned, unspent.
    A risen body, Lord, our flesh has never dreamt.

False Solomon’s seal

                                    (Maianthemum racemosum)

False Solomon’s seal, you trade
     in frankincense and myrrh,
          filling the forest with your fragrance.

There is a wisdom in the ladder
      of your leaves, clasping their way
           to each perfusion of scent and blossom.

Multiplied beneath the sunlit spaciousness
     of Douglas fir, you make a Milky Way
          of stars, as if the skies had poured

themselves into our lap, born
     again as a field of flowers, one vast aroma,
          calling us to a true home.

                                         —North Cascades National Park