Art is exploratory, and begins in a place of not knowing. Like all expression, it is predicated on risk and vulnerability – on partial information, on hope. As often as I write to know, I spend equal time writing to unknow – to complicate and to question. Indeed, at the center of any good poem is an interrogation, rather than an answer. An uncertainty, an ambiguity. A small gray, ineffable heart. When I approach art, I am essentially approaching a tomb in the springtime, seeking a beloved body. I find a great stone rolled aside, a vacant space, some linens neatly folded. There is a shaft of narrow light and a question. I wait for someone to approach from behind and call my name. I pace the tomb for hours. I confuse strangers in the garden for heralds and angels. Eventually, it grows dark and I go home and lie in my bed. I wonder what I might have missed. I return to the tomb the next day, and the next. After some time, I’ll learn to love that narrow shaft of light. Those folded linens. The vast silence that meets my voice when I say into the space, Lord? Lord?
Back before a psalm sung could sabotage
even the darkest city parks I learned
it’s prettier to repent—
as in spring, when snow
has the posture of a beaten dog
and, Christlike, the ice
loves well what doesn’t last:
planes, morning glories.
What good’s another hymn
for brutal Easter.
A new psalm to click in the brain.
Singing my heart out
with new grief for an old story
told in the morning. It’s times
like these I’ve got to love
the thawing, then
the thousand other winters coming back
to cinch me up again.