I have to look for cracks and crevices.
Don’t tell me how God’s mercy
Is as wide as the ocean, as deep as the sea.
I already believe it, but that infinite prospect
Gets farther away the more we mouth it.
I thank you for lamenting his absences—
His absence from marriages going mad,
Our sons dying young, from the inescapable
Terrors of history: Treblinka. Vietnam.
September Eleven. His visible absence
Makes it hard for us in our time
To celebrate his invisible Presence.
This must be why mystics and poets record
The slender incursions of splintered light,
Echoes, fragments, odd words and phrases
Like flashes through darkened hallways.
These stabs remind me that the proud
Portly old church is really only
That cut green slip grafted into a tiny nick
That merciful God himself slit into the stem
Of his chosen Judah. The thin and tenuous
Thread we hang by, so astonishing,
Is the metaphor I need at the shoreline
Of all those immeasurable oceans of love.