You stand in your desert
before the stone arch,
your heart beating so loud,
calling me to you. We stand, so small
in such a vast space. Together,
we peer through its great curve.
I say, It is only an accident
of sediment and erosion. It is only
an arch. Walk through if you want,
the other side is the same desert.
But facts are not what you called me to witness, facts
are not what you know you need.
You know, right now, that you need
to calm your trembling skin, that you need
to breathe intentionally, that you need
to step forward as if the ground
might not hold the burden of you.
You are afraid of how you know this—
I smell your sweat as it surfaces, detergent and dread—
your eyes grow wide, your soul throbs through your veins,
and yet your weight shifts, your foot rises. You know
everything possible will follow from what you
do next. You know that if you pass through,
you will still be yourself only in the way
the breeze is still itself
inside the tornado.
You take one tender step.
Then you discover what it is to praise.
You begin to live in a believing
that is bigger than your own
infinitely elaborate beautiful brain.
You grow unafraid to pray, to invoke, to summon
to draw down the moon. In the arch
every awkward human invitation to spirit
is carried along by the same singing wind,
and you create the wind when you take
another tender step, and then another.
And then another.
I watch you go, your trail incandescent.
I know you will discover that faith
is a motion, and you will go on moving
and moving until you find you need
no motion at all.
And when you arrive at the still point,
I will take you in, and I will brush my hand
so gently across your brow,
clearing any dust of doubt, and I say
welcome to redemption.