Today's poem is by George Looney

Figures We're Meant to Believe In

Coal runs veins under what was
never clarity. Just missing,
a miner might have said of his wife,
come home to a crevice
and vague dust. His wife had been
asleep in the house. Now,
every corpse carried out of the earth
has her face. Or she's behind him wanting
to hear what he can't say,
his heart collapsing in his chest.
This miner is invention, but the crevice
and the roof pleated by pressure
are real. And hearts can be
exhausted and years later collapse,
like the vein that swallowed
the miner's house, his wife, trapped
inside, becoming, with time,
a sad replica of a saint or demon
carved from stone and bolted down
in a cathedral to balance the remarkable
light passing through figures
we're meant to believe in. It is stone
we put our faith in and build on.
Miners, like monks, must listen to hearts
echo dust and not doubt
the stability of the world. Love,
they say, follows a vein in the heart
until it's tapped out, every beat
a collapse, dust, falling
through the body, a reminder
faith needs air. Nothing connects us
to the earth more than lungs.
This, both miners and monks
say, is no abstraction.

Copyright © 2005 George Looney All rights reserved
from Gulf Coast
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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