To Which We Are Going

Ben Groner III


John 6:16-21

The story goes something like this:
Capernaum was yet a long way off,
and their shoulders ached from rowing,
the violet light bleeding out of the dusk
until only the spectral moonlight
illumined the waves, tumultuous and
writhing like sea monsters, driving them
back two miles for every one as despair
set in like the night. Hours later, terror
gusted through their chests like the squall—
the ghost they’d glimpsed had soaked hair
that clung to his cheeks like kelp, and he’d
walked on the surface of the sea as one
would splash through a puddle. Peter
thought the waterline on his tunic was
too high, then not high enough, John’s
mind still racing as those sandals touched
the sodden wood—and instantly the boat
was at the land to which they were going.

And that’s where it ends. Talk about a
cliffhanger. The walking on water bit gets
all the attention while the teleportation is
hardly mentioned, as if the existence of
one miracle precludes the need for another.
But my days are filled with phenomena
I flounder to explain, pairs of realities
I’ve neither imagined nor deserved,
one story always leaning into the next.

I think of how the achiote carnitas tacos
I ordered last week from the La Mulita
Express #2
food truck were generously
garnished with both cilantro and lime;
how in the fall, the turbulent passions of
Verdi’s Il trovatore surged to me from
both the unseen orchestra pit and the
opera singers strutting upon the stage;
how last summer both a low-hanging,
smoldering bead of sun and a nascent
crescent shared the sky’s vast dome.
There’s the knock at the door, and the
friend framed behind it; the slow arc
of the tinfoil wave, and the mullet
leaping from its foamy crest; the
crackle of the car radio, and the
wildflowers waiting around the bend.

I’ll admit every stone I’ve ever tossed has
plummeted beneath the bay’s briny skin.
My words have often fallen flat; too rarely
have they revived a friend’s flagging spirit.
No one has ever taken me by the hand and
whisked me to the future I am heading to.

But I’m not asking for revelation.
I don’t need to be taken anywhere,
don’t wish the scroll of my days
unfurled and dissected. For now,
I’ll welcome the breeze rolling off
the ridge into a sky the color of spring.
For now, I’ll turn to face the pine-
lined trail to which I am going
and set off on two resolved legs,
forging ahead with the first,
and then the other.


Ben Groner III (Nashville, TN), recipient of Texas A&M University’s 2014 Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry and a Pushcart Prize nomination, has work published in or forthcoming from *Whale Road Review, Appalachian Heritage, The Bookends Review, One, Still: The Journal, New Mexico Review, *and elsewhere. He’s also a bookseller at Parnassus Books. You can see more of his work at

Return to Contents