sounding out a chalice

on the day of departure, no

symphonies swelled, no curtains parted

bells did not relentlessly ring,

just one step followed by another

 

the packing and unpacking of things

rolled up underwear, paired socks, shirts

solid colored towels, new sheets,

a mini refrigerator and microwave

 

logistics ruled attention

registration, orientation

superficial greetings and official reassurances

 

the process of dropping off our

oldest son at college, eighteen

years of nurturance simply and

necessarily cut off with surgical precision

 

that night lying awake i thought

perhaps this is how God feels, being

in relationship for what actually

is eternity, letting go

one by one by one as we are

born upside down and naked

 

maybe God takes the long view that what is

real about us cannot be lost

and the rest is ever changing

 

maybe God still hurts, feeling

separation from what is loved

the lack of control, loss of

personal significance, known

difficulties of embodied

conscious human life, certain death

punctuated by each labor spasm

 

maybe that first newborn cry is

like a parting hug, announcing

a letting go, sounding out a chalice

with cavernous rounded depth

into which a vulnerable love can eternally flow.