One Thing Remained

Thumbs pressed firmly on his eyelids,
fingers wrapped over his ears,
while the crowd rustled and murmured
amid the sweat and dust.

Why had he answered, “yes,” when asked,
“Do you believe I can do this?”
He didn’t know if he really believed
or simply had a desperate longing—

if there was even a difference
between the two. For seventeen years
he had grasped at straws; deceived
by both physicians and Pharisees.

When the stranger said, “Let it be
done for you according to your faith,”
the man wondered if it was mercy
or if he was being mocked for his lack

of conviction; having so often been taunted.
Memories swelled—dreams of the torrent
of light that might again fill his body.
With eyes still shut, he feared hope—

as the years had taught him to fear it.
Yet only one thing remained: To open
with even the smallest scrap of trust,
expecting brilliant blaze or enduring night.