In New Mexico the sky
is a blanket of black velvet
held up with diamond stick pins.
Horses are smarter than cars
and will find their way home.
This is how you know
the existence of God, how you figure
your path in the dark. The tulips
have come up so fast
since your bleeding heart fall
their young heads still wear black
oak leaf hats, miniature cowboys
hugging the range. In your Kansas
kitchen, colored tissue paper
filters the sun, a kaleidoscope
of peach, green apple, raspberry,
pear. I rinse the asparagus,
tell you what I know of heaven:
it is not the rich soil
that death makes for mulch,
but the other side of the sky,
the promise of one who planted
the first pomegranate, who knows
a tough rind, who will cast out
each sin, drop by tart red drop.
Carol Barrett was on the creative arts faculty of Union Graduate School in Cincinnati, Ohio, working both with writers and persons in the ministry when this poem appeared.