the one who made me well

Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.


Jerusalem, May 2017

No one here but us magpies—one flies overhead—
looking for some shiny thing.

Yellow gorse flowers bloom with scrubby insistence next to me: I stand among the sweet straw, which has been filling the air with its warm, amber-hued perfume ever since I arrived.

I want to see the stars out here.

I bet I can see the stars out here.

An angel has troubled these waters.

Inside me, I feel myself reaching for something deep as this pool—

A full, creative cistern bursting,

Gushing with life.

An angel is stirring something,
perhaps healing, something.

Dip your toes in.

Standing in the corner of stones twice the weight of me,
—feels like it is bursting open.

Tucked in the shade of literal excavation—
memory is a geological descent—
I return,
bring the depths to the surface.

Outside me, in the sun,
in the wind of angels:
It is wild.

“It” is an endless ring of questions:

How do we preserve things?

How do we write things?

How can we heal things?

Questions spiral into an endless horizon, until the horizon contracts at the center.
The core of the earth is the cosmos distilled into a single punto:
an angel troubling the waters.

Answers dissolve to questions,
And the question is a presence. It is there.

Tangible as cats who wander around my legs,
around the ruins,
into the sun,
troubling the hay where angels walked.

Two nuns with bright white wimples
and red habits
wind down crumbling stone stairs
into my subterranean maze of ghosts.

Lavender of unknown provenance
saturates the bright, warm air
Olive trees waft crushed spice scents
above the ancient waters, troubled by angels.

In the midst of refuse,
of questions, of crowds and chaos,
we seek that one authentic, shiny thing.

The rest is but straw,
which fills the ruins behind Saint Anne’s with amber-colored sweetness,
and the magpies flutter through a Mediterranean May morning.

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