In Gilead

           For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt;
                      I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.
           Is there no balm in Gilead?

                           —Jeremiah 8.21-22

So much vanishes. A glacier, a species, a friend.
A tattered shirt on a clothesline, in an erasing breeze.
September 11, January 6.
A hole that weighs too much,
an absence that lumbers around like a tractor.
Paper on a chain link fence, swaying.
A future fading to something else.
A voice in the square become silence.
An angel of despair who doesn’t know her words.
Grandchildren picking through shells in a barren landscape.
A thief of fire. Hope in rising waters.
The monster living in this world
that doesn’t live in this world.
A prairie in mourning, inconsolable sea.
No living thing is free of this grief.
We dip parched hearts in the spring, the balm of the whole.
We hold trembling cups to the rain,
or we wither.
A mighty God will not save us now;
vengeance will do no good.
Only tenderness will save us;
even the valiant soldier on
with broken hearts.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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