Building the Cathedral
The anonymous builders of English medieval cathedrals,
26 cathedrals in 500 years, would rarely see the end of the construction.
It was unhappy work, and the Church helped recruit laborers
by granting indulgences. Indulge me, Lord.
Grant me pardon as I lift this rock. I was clumsy and raw,
placing my hands to the cold stone.
Portland in March, and I’m driving with my brand new
just found half-brother Dan to meet our second cousin
“Bonus family,” the new language
calls us. “This is the road your dad died on,” he says.
I’ve found my birth mother, and this is the transformation,
brick by brick. I say it aspirationally, that every stone
is the corner stone. The cathedral
of the body, the history of the body. Ken
says hi. We’re all five foot seven. The three of us
in an arc. We have lunch.
The next day, I flip through the Troutdale historical records looking for my biological
great-grandfather, the one-time mayor. I run
in the golf course behind the hotel. My rental car is $39.99 per day.
Hewn, as in, “hew to the line,” “stick to a course,” literally,
seemingly contradicts the sense of the verb, hew,
to “cut evenly with a weapon or tool.” The stone
is hewn. I’m listening to an album by Big Thief.
I’m thinking about running another loop. Then I fly home.
Cleave, as in, “to split or sever, especially along a natural line.” Then
cleave to, to stay close. Watch these graves
dotting the hillside, buoys on a slow-motion rough sea.