Late Night Bread

Kneading
after the kids are asleep
and the day's tidy-up's done,

kneading
unresolved jobs and
disappointment into
positive dispersal of yeast through
dough,

kneading prayer,
kneading thought
of friend in need, kneading
the loss
of this or that hope,
kneading hope.

And pounding,
pounding heaven's door like a breadboard,
pounding grace into slack
and crumbling day,
pounding the gate
of coming kingdom,
pounding the weight of the season,
the wait of the harvest,
the slowness of leaven,
the tarrying rise.

And waiting.
Dough sits before the heater.
The day's done, and morning
will show what will rise,
what still waits.

Miracles of Grass

A devout gardener, my eldest comes out here
each day, to inspect, to water.
Sometimes he waters the concrete, sometimes
the soil. Most of it
is sapped up by unseasonal sun,
some soaks in. Butas we persist, he and I, we see
this transformation, like
a renewing mind: creeper grass
stretching out
green tendrils into a former wastelandand I am mindful to watch
the miracle of creeping grace
expanding where it is not seen.

Unless I See: After Caravaggio’s “Incredulity of Saint Thomas”

No need to touch the scars;
Caravaggio got that detail wrong.
The sheer force of His presence made Thomas crumple,
doubt ceasing where belief gained life,
the parched taste, hesitant like salt, exultant like wine,
as loosened lips croaked,
My Lord and my God.

Yet I am comforted to see
both the outstretched hand and
the companions’ fingers lifting his.
I cannot tell if, like Thomas,
I could simply stop doubting and believe at such a sight,
but, held up by the weathered,
briny hands of those who’ve seen with me,
I, like him, can lift a wrinkled brow in faith.

They knew Him too at breakfast

where, on the shore, He had
already assembled, as a table,
prepared for expected guests,
a charcoal fire, some fish laid out,
and, being himself the bread,
a loaf laid for good measure.

No need, of course, for the fish they brought.
No need, either, for that excess in their boats.
To feed seven mouths plus His,
that net-bursting horn of plenty was,
as old Judas, wilting, would have had them know,
not quite au fait.

Yet fitting – that He who made Leviathan solely to frolic
should choose to play with the resources of Galilee
to make much of these staples,
to invite, to delight,
and in the olive branch of this table set
in the presence of friends and enemies

to ask, as the mercy-cup overflowed in the background,
Simon, do you love me?

Resurrection Day

Nothing should compare to this:
our singularity that, with earthquake force,
shakes stones, baffles Rome, turns
the mourners from the tomb with lightning conviction.

And day on day this truth remains,
though I have dishes to wash
and the ever-turning of the present
makes me more a sullen Peter returning to his net

than a Mary, fleeing the dead, for dear life –
yes, for Life
had said her name and was here.