Originally published in Plainsongs
Heaven is an idea. It is attainable daily.
If heaven is achievable today
it is in these two girls
at the schoolhouse steps
braiding and unbraiding hair.
The gray cobblestone path
and brown wall of rough rock
before them are forgotten
along with this white washed house
of emigrantes, its bright green shutters
closed to a tilled stretch of dirt
dotted with red scrawling
through the branches of hibiscus trees.
The two girls bend away from this,
fold their bare feet beneath them.
One curves her shoulders
and neck over the younger girl
her small fingers smoothing and folding
softness into the head in her lap.