Holding a picture and a “never, never” you were a gritter of teeth and a ram, but because you heard Him you answered yes. You stepped into a heavyset bus with orange curtains in the land of Rus, where you fell and jammed the knee to a bruise, ripening under pale skin. A bumpy endless night follows, with a skipping refrain from a silver Walkman:
And I know that someday soon, you’ll make sense of this despair, and your love, your love, will get me there.
Open the shutters and see the first summer that you were awake, drink the sparkling stars and tall, skinny pines like a shot of vodka, with shivers and burn and clarity.
Earth, rain, mud, sense and a cry, the original cry that was answered with the unexpected, longed for yes.
Through flooded showers with strangers’ hair grabbing at feet like snakes, through mosquitos feasting on flesh layered in sweat and dirt, through a shared mascara and a new friend who shared your name there was that yes,
the yes that answered the question, the original question.
You sat there, twelve and ancient, infinite and tired, tasked with tasking the children with crafts you didn’t understand, and some tasks just don’t make sense in the entropy, and the prayer pours out in all its young, eternal specificity:
“Let it rain God, a rain with drops big like I’ve never seen, but let it be for only five minutes.”
And when the sky immediately rumbles and cries your tears of relief, it is all naturalness to you, but
joy, joy, joy!
Joy in an oversized grey hoodie, running through the forest path in the giddy hope that defines you. Slick with the answer dripping off your face, through your clothes, breathless and known.
I have now seen the One who sees me.
He was in this place and I did not know it.
*Jaazaniah is one of my middle names. It means “the Lord hears.”