Infinity does not know the grave
though the digger’s hand still turns the soil.
These monuments that some think grand
only mutely invoke the names
of the long forgotten dead.
There is no permanence
as these stones hope to proclaim.
Whether we are buried over here or over there
only bones below in a box remain.
The earth gladly welcomes them.
Perhaps infinity is just a word
Like truth and God and love.
Are they just pretty syllables
for atheists and blasphemers
to ponder in their despair?
Faith is irrational. It’s the logic of angels.
No, I will never understand
the mystery of the silent mountains.
not far beyond these gray and somber stones.
All the secrets of the universe
I’ll leave for others to discover.
The unknown will remain for me unknown.
I am glad of this.
I walk among the intaglio of crosses
and joyfully accept my mortality.
It’s because of this that I do not fear
the eventuality of days.
For every story, even ours, has a conclusion.
The essence of everything
we hold briefly in our hands.
In reality though, there is nothing in between them.
I find this notion both magnificent and grand.
Dust in time will cover even this.
Nothing in life is learned
until beauty becomes our mirror.
Only then will we catch a glimpse
of all that we call immortal.
We do well when we chase the ethereal.
For it is in the chasing of it, that we find most joy.
Victor Avila is a winner of the Chicano Literary Prize. His poetry collection, “The Mystic Thrones of Night,” was published through Vagabond Books in 2019. Victor’s poetry has been widely published and anthologized. Recent work can be found in such collections as EXTREME: An Anthology for Social and Economic Justice, and The Border Crossed Us. Victor has taught in California schools for over thirty years.