I am thinking of Benjamin,
turning around in the airport taxi to learn my destination,
a Baptist boy come to the city to make a living,
and Pierre, the taxi dispatcher
who winks and gives me half the going rate,
a price he reserves for those he considers friends.
I am thinking of the city as I last saw it,
the mountains and their mining scars
masked by rainclouds,
the tin-roof tenements hugging the coastline,
and the church roof that announces “JESUS LOVES YOU”
at the end of the airplane wing
as it turned toward the sea.
I am thinking of all the names and faces, familiar places
buried now beneath sand and ash and rubble and stone,
the sound on the news of voices crying,
the dazed look in the eyes of children, staggering
in the streets like wounded deer, trailing blood,
and the overwhelming sound of people worshiping
atop the ruins of their fallen houses,
a sign and a wonder to behold.
I am thinking tonight of the miracle of faith,
the mustard seed that grows into a mighty tree.
Faith, the evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things unseen,
the miracle of those who, losing the world, are lost to it in return–
men and women of whom the world is not worthy.
As the television glows, all I can do is think of Benjamin, and Pierre,
and the sorrowful, triumphant sound
the Beloved of the Lord is lifting up tonight.