On the Mountain*
On top of the world at dusk
the silent flit of mountain finches
trailed after his three favorites
springing up the steep terrain
intense with expectation.
Invigorated by the climb
and resting on the crest
as misty shears began descent
he knew then his friends
at last were ripe for mystery.
The unexpected glimpse of glory
rinsed their senses to the roots,
hurled them through the velvet air
toward a fresher firmament
where every moment has a name.
His face was like a brilliant flash
that sparked the night sky
with a heat that singed their souls,
so ravishing on the precipice
they could not look away,
so dazzling like a lighting strike
their feet felt fixed in fire.
When the smoke cleared
they sank down the mountain slope
the after glow disassembling
slipping back inside their skins
on the murky flats of faith.
Jerome L. McElroy
*Accepted National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 2008).