Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

The pastor’s wife considers drought

Faux thunder haunts my incoherent garden.
My chervil withers. The lettuce bolts.
Only rosemary’s roots remember rain.

Out by the road I find a young possum—
swollen—the fire ants celebrating, while
under the live oak resurrection ferns tarry.

Must I weigh the excellence of weeds—
how they thrive in their congregation—
thistle, wire grass, groundsel, nettle?



Film

Up

The sweet and thrilling Pixar animated feature Up is a paean to the possibilities that remain in a life shadowed by loss and disappointment. It’s about resurrecting buried dreams and using the judgment acquired over a lifetime to modify those dreams.
Poetry

Sweet psalm

Good lost word, succor.
As an infant mouth pulls
sweet need from the breast.
Sucker: that child,
or a loser. Or a gull—
someone fooled. Gull’s
a sea grace too, a diving
shelter wing. Sucker:
sweet on a stick. Sticky.

Dive and warm me, sweet
Grace. Feed me, help me.
Don’t fool me, don’t lose me.
Be my succor. Stick to me.

Poetry

Now! Order your prepaid cremation!

I’ve seen the Kathmandu corpses,
garlanded with marigolds, burned
to a crisp, holy smoke sifting
across the river, censing the air for the tourists.
In Annapurna’s narrow lap this valley,
chock full of bones, is too cramped
for burials. Instead, the dead are loaded onto
burn piles stacked with logs from the foothills,
now naked and eroding, pillaged for ceremony,
death gathering to itself more death
up the slow gradient of necessity.
Mourners chant. Mortality teaches
our ears, eyes, noses as the little boats of
skeletal ash and charcoal are launched,
freed from the funeral ghats,
to drift downstream.

Urged now to weigh the manner of
my final dispersal, I’m not
averse to incineration. But I confess
this foolish comfort: to lie beside my husband
in our grave—a double bed we chose together—
the full, aged remnant of the body he loved,
knowing heaven can pull together
from earth or urn, from bones or ashes,
whatever is needed for what’s next.