Never ask the wind why it heaves its shoulders
just after you’ve swept away all the leaves,
as if it doesn’t know your need for distraction.
Never ask the wind why it pushes your car
in the opposite direction of errands toward news
of someone dying we thought would live forever,
our beloved Fr. Virgil. Told he welcomes visitors,
don’t ask the wind what you’re doing in his room,
the angels already humming love.
Ask what to say to this man of God
who always had the right words for every occasion.
The wind continues to howl, whips palm fronds around
speaking the language of wings, something reverent
occurring you’ve heard before, the rattle
of loose shingles and screens, limbs being torn
from their source, the soul in its labor toward light.
Light spills through his open mouth, like honey.
You stood for everything good, says the wind.
We will always remember you on the Mission steps,
arms outstretched, greeting the faithful and unfaithful,
the musicians, the dancers and artists. We bow in gratitude
for marrying us, baptizing us, speaking of God
as He and She, in each, you always with a smile to be alive
another day. We bow for how you led the way,
helped us navigate strife, understand the improbable,
for quenching our thirst for the word-of peace,
our city made sweeter with you in our midst.
Now the wind sings, he’s mine, his mission complete,
tosses his wide brimmed hat aside and they’re off,
these forces of nature, in a rush of leaves.