after Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory
It is not quite peace, this breathing rain,
for peace requires human company.
I have only tattered cuffs
and wisps of thread in my pocket
for each soul I could not save.
I first mistook the whitewashed brick
for barracks, but now, while the rain heaves
in the far-off hills,
I see how hatred and comfort
are both cool to the cheek.
No, this is not quite peace. It is the tilt of the heart
toward that immortal magnet, love,
and even the lame dog feels it
and comes, with ribs like trapped fingers,
to this sun-white virgin,
knowing there is tenderness in stone.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.