God’s Body

God's Body
reflections from the summer sessions of 
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quakers) 2013

And it is in the gritty soil of Allentown
among the bones of buried miners
commingling with the coal that killed them
it is in the life their ashes feed
shooting up to greet us
the green glory that comes of dirt

And it is in the flesh of friends
virile and new
drooping and old
black, white and in between
it is in the tears of those bodies
their breath, their scent
in the explosive joy of faces

God's body is in the words
of a tender few gathered in a corner
in the morning, undressing their privacy
in quiet acts of courage
it is in the command of the clerk
and the fervent plea rising from
the body of friends
assembled in the afternoons

It is in what cannot be seen or said
in the embarrassing love that
spills in the space between us
in glances and affirmations that somehow
I have been in love with you forever
it is in the bathrooms of controversy
and the private habitat of the young
attending to rituals I am not invited to
but can almost remember

God's body is in the difficult truth told:
that I have hurt you
that you have transgressed
that there is forgiveness
that there is growth

It is in my children -
a boy on the cusp of manhood
running in packs now and
leaving his father behind
as he should
and a girl
who still wants to be a marsupial in my lap
all gangly limbs and joints now
his body, her body

God's body
lies buried underground in the shape
of a beautiful black boy, killed by a white man
full of fear
it is in his body too
I know them both but to my shame
I pretend that I don't

It is in the bodies of the women who sang
and told stories tonight
one white one black
the story they told
of how all bodies are one body
of how we have made a world of
deadly distinctions
lies and delusions

God's body is in the love
that will not let us look away
as we endure the painful glory of birth
once again.