Travel Stories

The Church

The tenth century church at Adidi Marian
Takes over seventy years for me to reach
Buried beneath the soil of our home
In Ethiopia
As we all shall be
The guides have known
I could not have come here
Before today
This day of epiphanies
Of wheat being threshed beneath the feet of oxen
Whose mouths are tied shut
Spinning in slow circles
Like leathery planets around a wobbly sun
In fields radiant gold and dry
The church archways and windows
Carved into and out of the earth
With hanging gauze curtains
Blowing across the alter
And ancient paintings of the holy mother
With a Star of David on her sleeve
Jesus looking on
As happy and familiar
As someone you went to school with
Someone trying to fathom
The mystery of so divine a creation
As he knows himself to be
And knows we all are
Living the flawed lives we do
Thirsty patient painted Jesus
Praised by peasants
Who bring their camels and asses
To be blessed
Who kneel down and cross themselves
Beneath the now all but evaporated
Tears streaming down your face
As you project pictures of your loved ones
Onto the walls of the sacred cavern
Past which people move
Like blood and oxygen
Through the chambers of your heart.