I have no idea what priests
dream of on Christmas Eve, what prayer
a crippled dog might whine before the shotgun.
I have no more sense of what is sacred
than a monk might have, sweeping the temple
floor, slow gestures of honor to the left,
the right. Maybe the leaf of grass tells us
what is worthwhile. Maybe it tells us nothing.
Perhaps a sacred moment is a photograph
you look at over and over again, the one
of you and her, hands lightly clasped like you
did before prayer became necessary, the one
with the sinking cathedral in Mexico City rising up
behind you and a limping man frozen in time
to the right of you, the moment when she touched
your bare arm for the first time, her fingers
like cool flashes of heaven.
Lee Herrick, "What is Sacred" from The Many Miles from Desire. Copyright © 2007 by Lee Herrick, published by WordTech Communications LLC.