Once you have had your fill of seeking
the holy in arched stone sanctuaries
and the sacred gardens of the cloistered,
you must look for the divine in uncomfortable
and unexpected places : in the eyes of caged
dogs thrown out and left behind at the Humane
Society, the hands of the old lady at the food
counter who has just discovered she is thirty
cents shy of the cost for a loaf of day-old bread.
You must look into the face of the toothless
man chopping vegetables at the all-night soup
kitchen and admit that sometimes there's more
grace being handed out in a whorehouse than
in the tent revivals on the other side of town.
You must look at the debris in the dumpster
Behind the mall and in places less exotic: daisies
Growing out behind the barn, the fragrance
In the yard just after the lawn has been mowed.
The smile your grandmother gave the day she
tasted your mother's first attempt at the recipe
for potato salad with homemade mayonnaise, and
the sounds the house makes when it's midnight
and you're still awake. Go back to the day you
moved your old-maid aunt to the nursing home
and closed down her house despite her protests
and tears. You must learn the hard way that what is
holy lives in the heart of everything that really matters.