Saint Peter Returns to the Garden

unless a grain of wheat by KPB Stevens

Unless a Grain of Wheat, India ink and pastel on paper

St. Peter Returns to the Garden
by KPB Stevens

God of calloused hands, like splinters,
like wooden bowls full of dinner,
I returned here with morning,
wanting to return
to that last evening we spent together,
all of us in a shadowed room,
our sorrow true as winter.
It was your winter –
your limbs like graying trees,
your body like this garden –
its dirt and worms were in your eyes.
Your blood was picnic trash,
your bones the tumbling walls of tombs.
Everything was falling feathers,
everything was embryos
spilled from broken eggs.

How did Spring come so quickly to this garden?
The birds are hollow bones and light
and flight. The leaves are a touch
on my face. I see the sweet wounds
of your body replaced
by roses that open with a fragrance
as green as sunlight,
as sunlight echoed from wet grass.
Each sorrow a petal, a caress.
You make pain itself into the lightness of Spring.
You make doubt into bird song, the sky into grace –
the last meal each meal –
each sight into taste.

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