The Reconciling / Jesse K. Butler
Somewhere beneath the name I gave this place
lies what I saw here. Two encampments, both
alive with preparation in the shadow
that stretches from the mountain of our oath,
both nested in the slow bend of the river.
Two encampments, mine and yours, but somehow
they seemed to fill out one expanded space.
Two worlds that flickered in and out of focus,
diverging and converging in an instant,
so intricate in how they interlace.
You haunt me. You are everywhere I look,
yet nowhere. Now I’ve learned to always test
reality, to see if it holds firm.
I’m clever, but you’re always just ahead,
just out of reach. I won’t give up the chase.
That day I came to steal your blessing, bringing
that rich red stew, my cleverness fell from me
like skin. And, with my lie laid bare, I knew
that somehow it was you who blessed me. You—
the very one I thought I could displace.
The blessing was received, in any case.
Yet still it seems, however much you bless me,
I’m left alone to grapple with your grace.
You found me here tonight, well after darkness,
and threw me to the ground. I’d sent my crew
across the river. Maybe you had too.
I kicked your legs out and you fell beside me.
The impact made the breath rush from your chest
into the dirt—a moment of creation.
I lunged and grabbed you then, and held you down.
You wrenched my leg to dislocate my hip,
but still I held you there until you blessed me.
I wonder who you are. Your name is hidden
somewhere beneath the name I gave this place.
It doesn’t matter now. The dawn is gleaming
out past the jagged mountains. I start limping
first slowly and then faster. Now, I’m ready
to find you in the daylight and embrace
the God that greets me from my brother’s face.
The Reconciling: Copyright 2021 by Jesse K. Butler. All rights reserved.