sign on marble tile says, photographs printed on marble

In his wallet, he carries business cards,
coal black, with no text, no nothing,
on either side. Except that’s not exactly true.

It’s not a wallet. It’s a small brown velvet
drawstring bag he carries inside his rucksack.
He is always moving, seeking the sacred.

Those black cards – they’re not really coal
black, matte and dusty looking. More like
the warm living black of a man’s face

with depth and gradation, blood flowing
beneath. Also, they’re not really business cards.
They’re the thinnest possible slices

of stone, like communion wafers, upon which
there are messages written that only
the holy can perceive. The rarest among us,

entitled from birth to the secrets of earth and sky,
buried now, under strata of bones and leaves
without ever knowing what they were chosen for.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This poem was selected from entries submitted to our Creative Challenge Series #1: First Sentences, which required that the first sentence in the text must be used as given.