The beauty we’ve forgotten stays forgotten
In heaven, too, unmemorable, unmissed;
By contrast, our disfigurements persist
Like igneous rocks or an eternal thought in
The mind of God: the palsied lurch and stumble,
Outgrowths and fleshy gaps from the atomic
Fallout, wet empty sockets, the semi-comic
Hydrocephalic bulge—they keep us humble,
More down-to-earth, distinctly kind, and should
No more define perdition than election.
Why think affliction must preclude affection?
Why think our earthly horrors bring no good
News of their own? It’s time that we confess
With every awful blemish, every chronic
Eruption or collapse, the oldest chthonic
Law becomes clear: through our unsightliness,
We grow more recognizable from afar.
Perhaps God tires of beauty’s cool, laconic
Demeanor. Perhaps pain is God’s mnemonic:
We scar so he’ll remember who we are.