When Zephyr combs a field of wheat it’s the wheat in motion we
remember, not the ancient name for the wind.
To stand before the Pietà is to see through theology to an intense
actuality in marble. Picture books can’t prepare us for the real
The dead son is draped across his mother’s lap. Her outstretched left
hand, palm up in heavenly supplication, articulates a grief only a
mother can know. Meanwhile, her right hand helps hold him up.
If she rose she would stand seven feet, a grief taller than her son.
And she appears younger than he. Hers is an ageless grief that stars
the basilica’s gloaming with an arctic solitude that never ceases to
draw a crowd.
Even if we didn’t already know, this is what we have traveled to find:
a work of human hands that cracks open some unknown door, delivering
us, for a few moments anyway, into a realm where we are no longer
tourists on earth.
This poem previously appeared in Mike Dillon's book, Coracle, Bellowing Ark Press, 2011.
Mike Dillon lives in Indianola, Washington, a small town on Puget Sound northwest of Seattle. He is the author of four books of poetry and three books of haiku. Several of his haiku were included in "Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years," from W.W. Norton (2013). “Departures,” a book of poetry and prose about the forced removal of Bainbridge Island’s Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor will be published by Unsolicited Press in April 2019.
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