Saul, you thug who once draggedbelievers through the streets,flinging them from their beds so hardtheir arms popped from their sockets,how like a dying child you look,your stomach caved in from fasting,lips blistered with fevered prayer.You reach into the darkness, tremblingfrom the exhaustion of relivingthe scene: The light shot out of the sky—no, it flared from the stones—no,Jesus, your hair was on fire—God spoke to me, too, which is whyI stand at your bedside now and beseechthe Spirit to enter. He loves to appearin the lonely, dank rooms of the faithful:Noah, Mary, Abraham, all sweating outtheir dreams of God. You will learnhow hard belief can be. You will singwhile the guards whip you to the bone,touch an enemy’s shoulder with gracewhile the avenging knife burns at your hip.One day you will wish for your sickbed again,this woolen blanket of blindness.But I do as I am told. I lay my fingertipson your lids, and your eyes rumblelike stones rolling from the grave. Your lidscreak open, and the light burns through.This healing is not easy. Something silveris falling from your eyes. Brother, somethinglike the scales of a struggling fishis scattering at my feet.
Tania Runyan is a poet from Lindenhurst, Illinois, and author of How to Read a Poem (T. S. Poetry Press).
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