I put my trust in cities
Brick and glass and window washer, each climbing like a sort of secular ivy
aching angularly, always arcing heavenward.
Tonight I am
wearing boots my wife bought for me,
on a train quiet enough for me to hear my own whispers
My mind goes to the woods, the life I make up for there
when my dogs pull me ever faster, and my love calls behind me
for me to stop and take in a magnificent old tree
in a spot where it’s quiet enough for me to hear the whispers
of the whole life I’m yet to live.
Tonight, as the rattle of the tracks below my feet
provide the backbeat for my aching, arcing whispers
I’m praying for Mary Oliver.
If there is a heaven,
May Jane Jacobs be saving you a seat
so you can whisper and laugh and talk about cities and the woods,
the delicate winged landing of a crane, and the delight of a good front porch.
The train arrives at my stop,
the escalator leans up heavenward
and I wonder
If I am the only Tennessee preacher to have ever
hedged the claim of a prayer about heaven
with an If.
I emerge, above ground,
To snow, alive and everywhere.