We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


What isn't there

                                    —September 2001

The painter in overalls, he’s somewhere uptown,
his blue-spattered hands tensed on a grating.
Imagine him climbing the latticed scaffolding.

No children at the crossing for the library,
whose two dark lions drowse, even now,
imperturbable. No low light along an alleyway,

the pawn shops, moments laced with faces
in windows, in cars. The sidewalk murmurs
under our feet, worries and flutters at curbs,

until, unthought, it leaves us empty, down and
rooted, within ourselves. Insistent still: what was
but isn’t there, what fills this space with space.


Public Enemies

Halfway through Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, about the time I should have been engrossed in the tommy-guns-a-blazin’ battle between bad guy John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and good guy Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), I found myself staring at the beautiful overcoat Dillinger was wearing, the hip sunglasses he had on and the way Purvis’s stylish hat was nattily cocked upon his head.

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.

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.