I wonder how long he stood there
looking up into the sky after the angels
got tired of walking up and down, got
tired of this dust on their feet, tired
of having to look down on
the earth rather than up into the face of God.
Did he jump off the rock his head
was on? Did he have that conversation
with God quickly, exchanging promises, propping
the stone up in memorial, then—off you pop!—
back in the sandals and moving on? Or
did he stand at the foot of the ladder, now
gone, mouth-gaping, silent—for once in his life—
immersed in the mystery of God?
Did he bring his cheeks to his brow as tightly
as he could to hold in the specter of holiness;
did he hold his breath to seal in the scent of heaven?
Did the fear in his bones shake his whole body
and leave him only whispering, muttering his promises
and insecurities and hope for the house of God?
I wonder if I’ve ever come that close.
Did I wake from that dream without
remembering? Is there any hope
that one day it will all just déjà vu right back
to my marrow or rocket into certainty? Are wordless feelings
that sneak up on me drenched
in familiar incense just forgotten memories?
When I stand looking into space,
is that heaven up there, holy faces facing mine?
Was I only given one shot with the divine?