Sometimes I lack peace
from the first moment of the day,
like waking up to find
you’ve been robbed.

And I go from room to room
talking, but not speaking,
seeking, but not finding
in that hateful drought.

I go back, like a stiff-necked people
to the land I was enslaved in.
Like a dog returns to its vomit,
so go I to grace’s grave.

I would drive to the ends of the earth
to touch your face and hear “be healed.”
(I do drive—if only an hour,
but still arrive too late.)

How often I’ve chased you! how often I strive
to beat my heart into shape,
to be your tabernacle
and feel you rest in me—

yet do not rest in you! not even when
I hear your voice so clearly:
“adoption is your heritage,” you said,
“our Father’s great inheritance.”

Yet little by little, despite
my spendsavor self’s resisting,
sunlight caressing black ice
cannot fail to melt, to crack it.

A blessing in a bookstore.
A brother’s humble prayer.
A car ride filled with laughter
to the supper of the Lamb.

What I would not give for faith
that triumphs over darkness
but also over dryness
and the restive morning fog!

And yet. “Patience,” you tell me,
and “surrender.”
For mercy triumphs over judgment,
even mine.


This is day 36 of LABIA MUNDA, a series of forty poems during the forty days of Lent. 

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