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The mystics say to dig, hammer the cloud, day
and night. That the act of gazing at the long obsidian

robe of God undresses unknowing. I have descended
one mile underground down a mine shaft

in the back of a pickup and there was no adjusting
of the eyes, only the coal oblivion of open veins. I

have tracked the dark nebula at the foot of the Crux
600 light-years from earth and I cannot penetrate

your meaning, swathed in opaque interstellar cloud
which sweeps light away with dust of loss,

blackness of grief. I cannot pierce
the absence to find a single ray. I am always imploring

you to tell me, beloved, if you have left me forever?
I scrabble the seam of your silence. You blot the belly

of earth, hollow the cosmos; you ink the endless empty
patches, you sharpen my unseeing eyes so I slip

the stars. You hew vast space for yourself in my narrow
atoms. I dimly carry this sparking quarry which slides

through my sieved soul. I am always asking you to untie
your sack of stars, all while here there are diamonds.

Previously published in America Magazine

Photo by Gary Scott on Unsplash

Laura Reece Hogan

Laura Reece Hogan is the author of Litany of Flights (Paraclete Press, 2020), winner of the Paraclete Poetry Prize, the chapbook O Garden-Dweller (Finishing Line Press), and the nonfiction spiritual theology book I Live, No Longer I (Wipf & Stock). Her collection Butterfly Nebula is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she is one of ten poets featured in the anthology In a Strange Land (Cascade Books). Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in America, First Things, The Christian Century, Sojourners, Spiritus, Whale Road Review, Dappled Things, Cumberland River ReviewEcoTheo Review and other publications. For more of her work, please visit

One Comment

  • D.S. Martin says:

    As the Coalsack Nebula merely obscures stars in the Milky Way, so the apparent divine absence is only an obscuring of the presence we experience through faith. Thanks, Laura!