We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


Labor Day

Soap foams like spume on waves
         sloshing toward shore. And the water
is warm as I wipe each dish and fork
         like the sea wipes its sand-caked brow.

Summer is over. My kids sit at the table,
         doing their homework. My husband
outside, his tractor chugging
         as he whittles away his work,

cutting square after shrinking square
         into our lawn. Clouds crowd the blue
in the September sky, squeezing
         the sun into one long beam

leaning like a ladder against our house,
         stretching through my window.
I sense the cold feet
         of winter on the top rung,

heading down. But the water is warm
         as it spills from the spigot like light.
My hands clinging to the cup
         that now runs over.


The color of the universe

Last week a mathematician said green
glow, aquamarine—
and I suppose rare parrots
or the searing rise of rice,
aurora as it reels around the poles.

This week the man says oops,
a miscalculation:
the universe is amber—
peach hair, cantaloupe,
a squeal, the yellow cart of dawn
pulled into day.

Show me the math, show me
equations in green, gold, vermilion, plum—
whatever comes out of the dark
around us and the sun and all
the sons and daughters of the stars—
the universe a crystal, charmed,
worn in the hollow of God’s throat
and warmed.


The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is the best movie to come out of the war in Iraq so far. In fact, it’s the finest American war film of the past decade.


The first feature-length film by video installation artist Steve McQueen (no relation to the late actor) presents a detailed and disturbing look at conditions inside Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison in 1981. Angry members of the Irish Republican Army were jailed—some for relatively minor offenses—denied political-prisoner status and subjected to regular beatings by British guards.

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?