Once our Calcuttan Mother walked
Enraptured her crooked toes to those
Great Gates and was turned away with
The sobering proclamation divine:
“Go back, there are no slums here.”
Likewise a father of the faith
Once pondered a similar fate in which
He willingly refused the Reward given
For solidarity with the outcast.
Peripheral incarnation forcing mercy on Mercy.
And then there is he, smallest and least,
Greatest shepherd of souls besides He.
Who claimed, in a moment of weakness,
(Or strength), to forsake the inheritance
For the love of his wayward brother.
I glimpse fire and smell smoke,
Moments of prodigal revealing and
Torments lifted, raptured in the
Chase and torn limb from limb by
The jaws of Grace bitten lockjaw.
And I wonder if the reward is too
Great a temptation (God have mercy)
To forsake my brother. And I
Wonder how I can love my God eternally,
Knowing my brother keeps flames in company.
And my brother, him! What eternal damnation
Could he escape knowing his place as my
Second love, only to be awkwardly reunited?
No. A human soul cannot bear it. Only
God, and forcefully so with gracious leaning:
“Love them, not me. Die for them, and in so
Doing be united to me. Burn fully, and
In love. For love’s fire burns out
Hell’s damning licks of Sulphur-y flames..
And so doing love me.”
I am too weak. I burn for
Salvation, not rushing hell’s damnation
Churning. Help my unbelief Father,
Who pushes me towards burning to
Burn love’s redemptive fire cleansing.
A gunshot and running, slow, im-
Perseptively reaching, shoes and slum-
Y Grim pulsing, glint of steel chas-
Ing, and crowds fawning at ti-
N doorways closing, options sifting death.
My life forfeit and slum mud-reeking,
I understood finally, and accepted flames
Reaching, concerned for my sister only,
And those uncomprehending, family, hoping,
Their reward revealing my choice, the flames!