by Tania Runyan
Sometimes you must do things out of love
that devastate the senses.
This wasn't easy, Elymas. I know
blindness. I know how suddenly
the specks in the stones you can't see
become something you would die for.
From the way you grope this cloud of mist
I know you're trying to imagine
the color of the stars right now,
the blue-white shine that once
ignited your hands with power,
but can conjure only
the upturned bellies of poisoned frogs,
your mother's dying lips.
Don't you know how small
this life is? Even the stars
are just the sweat Christ shakes
from his brow. When you make crooked
the path to eternity, you send your brother
to oblivion, to the buried speck
in the midnight desert stone. This time,
no magic will save you. You
will have to find your life in the dark.
Today you will have to be led by the hand.
Tania Runyan is the author of the poetry collections What Will Soon Take Place (2017), Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature in 2007. Her guides How to Read a Poem, How to Write a Poem, and How to Write a College Application Essay are used in classrooms across the country. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Image, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Christian Century, Saint Katherine Review, Atlanta Review, Indiana Review, and the Paraclete book Light upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Tania was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2011. This poem originally appeared in the Summer/Autumn 2012 issue of the Bulletin.