Beloved Community
"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8

What I Should Have Said
to Peter, Angie, Karen, Sarah, Heather

The moon transforms:
An over-fertile pond becomes the water of life
and visions hang heavy from oak trees,
just out of reach
the moon renews,
and we are bound again
in the unconscious, visceral love
between bodies that have
eaten, slept, bathed, cried, sweated, bled to-
gether in a circle of the most ephemeral light;
beneath stars that may even now be dying, even dead.
The moon trickles
its way through ordinary Missouri trees
on an ordinary suburban night —
we are dream lovers,
snatching beauty from the chaos of
our own splendid disintegration.

Dyke Dharma
for my sister, Sasha

My bodhisattva has been busy,
yesterday she told me:
“I gave my gloves, right off my hands, to a woman with hers outstretched, red and cracked.
She wanted something else, but gloves were what I had.”

Jesus collapsed on the sidewalk last week, in front of us —
like a tree felled in a forest full of people, but silent anyway.
We saw them peer from their storefronts in curiosity
not at his falling, but at our stopping, stooping, calling for help.
He was just a junkie, after all.
But where do you draw the line in a city where everyone is addicted to something –
even if it’s only to knowing they are too smart to give those people handouts?

“Now that I know about the problem, God is watching” says my bodhisattva,
who has never been to church, except to be marked,
a squalling infant, as Christ’s own forever,
and in spite of 36 intervening agnostic years, says:
“People who think there’s no such thing as a free lunch haven’t been to my place yet.”

The Lesson of Corninth
for Karen in faith and for Rob with hope
(upon the occasion of their marriage)

Anyone can learn to speak like the angels,
even as children this is how we spoke.
Anyone can make a convincing noise
and boast in the praise and wealth of the world.
But now, with bright knowledge piled at our feet
as our childhood prophesies come to an end,
we look dimly back the way we have come,
down narrow paths we’d rather not have trod,
and realize that it was not all our faith —
though we stand in this high place, where once there was sea;
we know that it wasn’t our deathless hope —
dearly cradled and sheltered between us these years;
but something more patient, something more kind,
something much greater, far simpler than these
that bore us and bears us and sends us rejoicing;
something that never ends.

(c) Copyright Shannon LC Cate 2003
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