Forgiveness as the Last Compassion

After Christ of the Abyss, a submerged statue by Guido Galletti, off the coast of San Fruttuoso in the Mediterranean Sea


Across the sea, a sculptor
            plunges his bronze Christ 
down a forgiveness
            weighed heavy with barnacle, 
tempts me with the mercy
            of a place that didn’t already 
know you—
            where crying is no longer 
spectacle but simply
            another warm current 
across the molten wound
            of love. In the left-behind 
of my people’s
            sacred geology, 
zebra mussels scathe 
            engines and drag 
            toward rocky bottoms, 
taconite uneasy
            in the ballast—trapped gas 
in the gut of industry. 
            For a fee, I could
dive toward
            my favorite Great Lakes 
            witness the salvage 
of a vessel
            whose seams opened 
too quick,
            swallowed too much water, 
green and even
            as our conversation 
before your
            inevitable disaster, 
but it doesn’t take
            a tour guide, 
                        fancy goggles,
                                    a historic plaque, 
                                                a sonar image or
                                                            breathing machine to tell me 
            in the years after 
my father’s overdose 
            several of the factories 
he worked at 
            caught fire or exploded 
and left behind 
            no charred skeleton, 
only a lace of grief 
            to silver our lungs 
heavy hung in the air, 
            the gray of history sunk 
into my body 
            by my mother’s 
cracked fingers 
            stroking my hair, 
trodden sea grass 
            tangled in the mess 
of it all,
            and all that’s sailed across.