O riginally published in the Semi’s Winter 2011 issue entitled “A Contemporary Travel Guide.” To read in the Semi online, click here.

Pilgrim’s Shoes

I put on pilgrim’s shoes

But they don’t fit.

My feet pinch and blister

As I study frescoes and question Francis.

Did you hurt yourself so God would show up?

I can’t relate

Because when I’m with him

He takes the whip out of my hand

And he heals.

 

Break open the doors of this cavernous cathedral,

Lead me off the dusty streets of Assisi.

I’ll kick off my sandals and run on wet grass

into the sun,

jump over the moon,

dive into the flashing sea—

how deep does this go?

 

If you see him, tell him I am sick with love.

 

Push me to the edge of the earth

I’ll sing to the morning sky, radiant in the East,

As the sunrise speaks of his faithfulness

with a dozen golden roses.

Rumi said there’s a thousand ways

To kneel and kiss the ground.

I know there are also a thousand places.

 

Let me wander the world and

discover the walking temples,

Take their faces in my hands

And say, Tell me about the one I love,

I see you love him too.

 

I am sick with love

I ache with desire

My journey begins and ends in him.

 

Saints set aside: this is my pilgrimage.