There are many ways the human heart
endures. Three and a half centuries later
the stream of sorrows no longer flows
along Mission Dolores.
The grieving mother’s heart hangs
over the nave, pierced through
with swords for every possible hurt,
even the most mysterious,
visible, maybe, only to angels.
As for the angels, the Ohlone
must be among them now not because
they ascended but because they swiped
heaven off the sky and brought it
closer, ceiling-high, reachable
and real. And what is God
if not the God of baskets, corn,
brick and mud. Whoever watches over us
is the one we adore. Above me,
from the choir, The Gift of Finest Wheat
is still unfinished, every note a ladder
to perfection. There are seven sorrows
the heart must suffer.
Bereavement, because it fills the soul
yet works alone. Longing,
which makes the body weak.
Distance, the light years between
eye to eye, body to body,
soul to soul. Time, which turns
all mourning into silence.
Silence, the heart’s way
of reading the world. Death,
which devours the smallest
whisper. And love, which wraps
around it like a stream. There are many ways,
each one a lifetime’s breadth
and an inch away. The heart
is the toughest muscle, the blade
cuts through and meets not resistance
but surrender, which makes the heart strong.