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Poetry

For they considered not the miracle of the loaves:
for their heart was hardened.

                            —Mark 6:52

I understand now how the disciples could touch thousands
of pieces of bread with their hands and still not get it,

how so many salt fish could shimmer only in the periphery
of their consciousness. Life schleps on. Katie had surgery

last Wednesday. They harvested the sick lung
from her body and left a ditch next to her heart.

The world inside flickered into night. She lost oxygen
for twenty-four minutes. We thought she had died

when she opened her eyes and began to nod. I know
what it’s like to be hardened in the face of a miracle, for some

insane part of me to care only about checkboxes on a list,
dust forming clouds underneath the couch, my sleep,

my needs, when someone is rocking the line between life
and death, pressing to see one square of light

each morning. Is this what it means to be human?
The light rinsing me when I step outside and say,

I don’t care. Whose night is it anyway? The disciples
gathered the leftover pieces of bread and fish

and stumbled away from that hillside astoundingly
the same as when they had arrived.


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

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