We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


Forgiveness, second verse

                "Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain;
                He is like the beasts that perish . . ." –Ps. 49:12

Another fall, another shift
of cloud. One hawk, two

hawks sift the patient or impatient
grace of crows:

who owns the skyward lamppost, who has
air rights to overfly the trees.

Down the road, a stone's throw
from their motley argument, the asphalt

where death's gray squirrel body
lapsed from bloodied substance

to the white signature of

a year, two years ago

this day records in dust
in the hollowed crucible

where mortality erased itself
a newborn chuff of grass.


Jesus climbing trees

Let this, too, be a source of praise,
that trees meet in the park like six-
winged seraphim, stooping low enough
for a boy to find foothold
and swing himself to a crooked seat.

This act of grasping something greater,
knowing that one's weight won't break
the boughs, that weakness allows mastery.
The sudden slip that bloodies the thigh,
the husky bark rasping one's shin,
then the elation of hanging by the knees,
trembling, maybe, but trusting the limb.

Surely Jesus, too, climbed trees in Galilee,
frightening Mary by exceeding her grasp,
then flinging his body from the upper branches
and returning to earth, triumphant and flushed.

He must have enjoyed as a boy the enabling flaw,
must have loved the flesh He knew would fail,
trailing for hours the ascents of his nimble creatures:
the ring-tailed raccoon, the unseen lizard,
the silent beetle, armored and green.


An Education

Set in early 1960s London, An Education is a coming-of-age film about a sharp-witted teenager who falls in love with a man in his thirties. The world he unveils for her is glamorous, cultivated and illicit. It represents an education, but one very different from the Oxford education she had been striving for.


My house burned down a month ago, so today
I walked to the bookstore and bought myself
a dictionary, a Bible, and a calendar.

What else does one need, really? For Malvolio,
in that dark cell, it was candle, paper, and ink.
That was his sacred trinity by which he could
be sane again—or at least be proven so.

Me, I need to make sure of the meanings
of words, then to invest them with holiness,
and then to know when I might use them
(or utilize them, as an administrator would say).

On Monday, February 2, I plan to employ perspicacious.
Then, on Easter, resurrection is scheduled
for its grand debut. And so on. I’m saving horror
for Halloween, and thanksgiving for Thanksgiving.

Among poets of old, this was known as decorum.
Proper words in proper places. On the anniversary
of the fire, I will simply say, damn.


Bright Star

Bright Star is a die-hard romantic’s romance, eschewing tawdriness in favor of shy smiles, stolen glances and soft kisses. It helps, of course, that half of its pas de deux is John Keats (Ben Whishaw), the frail Romantic poet who died of tuberculosis in 1821 at age 25.