If I Can Speak

If I can speak
If I can speak the words of common folk
gathered in a Sunday shade, leaning
shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand,
walling off the dark day wind to say goodbye,
having soaked up each other’s tears
with the warm unity of family bread –
if I can sing the tune they share
with the gravelly, gasping voice
of their one great spirit wailing upon itself
for you and for me and for Jesus and the poor children,
the old men and their widows,
and for those on the bottom side of luck
standing in a fox hole of bled out love –
if I can pray the prayer that sounds like no words
but the rolling flood of a dam that’s been breached
or the rushing pentecostal winds from nowhere
to everywhere blowing; the last exhalation
of a contrite heart or hands that snap clasped
when the bottle drops and the cell slams shut
and the trigger pulls –
if I can grasp the hand that draws like a claw
over some piece of death that it won’t let die,
shielding its face in rags of hand-me-down shame,
too weak to take the bread being offered
from the palm with a hole in the middle,
Holy, hurting, healing, held –
then I will have found the deepest diamond
of this and every last daybreak,
the rejoicing, upraised hands
of the little one called I am,
and I will be, and all of us will be,
encircled forever in a golden cord of song.

2 thoughts on “If I Can Speak

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