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If God is that sublime moment
in the story when Jesus said,
“And his father seeing him afar off . . . ”
which could mean, of course,
that he had been watching every day for years,
longing for him,
straining to see him afar off”
it’s that afar off that moves me . . .

or perhaps he only watched
in the late afternoon
thinking he would try to get home before dark,
or early in the morning
after pressing on all through the night,
or at high noon
when his father stood
shadowless under the sun
and remembered his son’s
innocence and sweetness . . .

or perhaps it was just by chance
he saw him
when he looked up
from repairing a harness
or tying a new broom
or from a nap in his favorite chair,
suddenly there he was,
his lost son
coming home . . .

or perhaps he only saw him
because it was his birthday”
not his son’s”
when his eldest,
forgetting the persistence of an old man’s dream,
said, “Make a wish, Father,”
and he did
and looked up . . .
seeing him afar off.