So he who strongly feels,

       —Marianne Moore

You find in an alley
the mouthpiece of a flute.
Gossip alone makes music

and suddenly
from the pines the birds
all fly away.

You are devoted to giving
clear meaning to one movement.
The water in the fountain.

Down the fountain. Over it.
The prayer chapel
but its brick bench. Magnolias

in almost bloom. The failure
to believe in mathematics
is a failure of emotion—

you have spent
all of your free time.
Choral directors describe

the torso in terms of the muscles
of sound. Your wife paints
your two-year-old’s fingernails

and the two-year-old says,
toes too! Sitting next to an anthill
feels like this. They work so hard.

And for so little. For salvation.
This is the mystery.
This is forgiveness.