I mean the kind saints praise and scripture
calls blessed, the kind that inherits heaven
where maybe what’s left of us will be

more like a clear broth, than the vegetables
and meat we chop here, as the radio
blasts war, soup kitchen fills,

and down the block a crowd gathers
around two men yelling their different stories
to the cop as an ambulance wails off.

In its wake, I go back to cutting carrots
and beets, gazing into their concentric rings.
Everything with its secret heart,

Saint Francis says, where it’s better to be
prey than predator, better to step into
the net than be the one who rigs it.

Poverty, he says, a word so pure
it can’t be hyped, it sees into the dark
vessels of the heart, where the blessed know

what they lose, what sinks to the bottom
enriches the stock—which we will ladle out
to those shuffling in with their empty bowls,

as if they follow the saint’s hard recipe,
the one that says: Put everything in the pot
and let fire take over.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry

abstract image in gold and orange with hints of red. sweeps of color, looks like molten gold or a galaxy cast in bronze.

The Earth


Cintio Vitier

abstract image of a close up of a glass filled with red liquid, in front of a background that is blurry and makes a natural gradient: white at the top, a thick band of emerald green, a thin band of lighter green, an even thinner but darker band of green, and then a white strip again that is faded into.



Katherine Soniat

Meditation on Soteriology


Karen An-Hwei Lee

Every Day I Touch Things


Fleda Brown

Pin It on Pinterest