Which river to cross - The shallow brook of faith, Tepid in the slow run to God, or That which drains into the oily pits Of loss, tormented though alive In sure and certain combustion?
Give me fire and hard current, Give me love and rounding stone, Give me rasping scale and snag, Jagged rapid bends, And the black swamp moccasin Bite into my fat ripe shin. For that is where I’ll meet you.
And what is more sacred Than knowing true pain, The poison of it - The broken limb, the broken heart, The breaking rind and taking, Taking that what is broken And breaking, Into a broken hand And tying pain to pain And thus healing As long slow scabs Conceal the wounds.
I will not confess my sins, no, But burn them in the river to Hell. I will struggle - with you - the orange-tongued waters, Grit-toothed and unburdened, Dragged a half-mile down, Until we reach the ashed And muddied bank and fall In the gray and muck of living - Laughing that we tried at all.