We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


My father and the dark

Ten inches of snow this week,
gradual, over four days,
so that we didn’t realize

until we tried to walk
the tow path along the canal
how deep it was,

and I think again how quickly
this first trimester’s gone
a season already, reaching

around to rub her round belly,
its waters stirred this month
by tiny fingers and toes,

knowing our baby
has earlobes now, and genitals,
hearing again the racing

heart in the doctor’s office,
wishing my father, who sat up
at night like this to smoke,

could be here,
so that I could show him
how I sing into the belly

when she lies back down,
and could ask him
about the dark and its lack of answers,

dark he slumped in for years
with his beer and news radio,
dark he drove to work in

and came home in,
lived on those last few months
through tubes and drugs,

dark he lives in now,
or does not,
dark our baby swims from tonight,

in the waters where time begins,
adding cells and muscle and bone
all the hard way to our lives.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The biblical archaeologist at my seminary once donned Indiana Jones–inspired attire to publicize one of his discoveries. He claimed not to enjoy this publicity stunt. If so, he’s about the only movie-watching male who didn’t want to play at being Indy, the brainy, hip, unflappable professor of archaeology who could fight off Nazis with little more than a fedora and a bullwhip.

Son of Rambow

I took my 11-year-old son to see Son of Rambow as a form of retreat from the current armada of blockbusters. I had heard that the film, an audience favorite at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, was full of uplifting messages about friendship, imagination, creativity and tolerance.

Candles waking

When I get up in the night to stifle
a cough with hot tea, and make my way
through the black terrain of the dining room,

there are candles waking in the dark,
open eyes that never sleep:
the blue glow of digital minutes

winking under the television,
the coffee maker, the microwave.
A laptop beams its single pulse,

and the mouse beside it arches
over the red flame of a beating heart.
The rat scratching away in the attic

suddenly seems superfluous,
the stars outside the sliding door
a vestigial redundancy.

When I wake in the night and cross
to the greening numerals upon the stove,
I voyage within my own fixed sphere,

my lonely festival of lights.



Holy Spirit: do not descend as a dove.
Better to return as a millipede hidden
beneath decaying bark than anything
that can soar. Ponder the incarnational
worth of Pneumodesmus Newmani,
the oldest known form of life on land,
linking air breathing with the surname
of the Scottish bus driver and amateur
paleontologist who chiseled its fossil
from harbor rocks north of Stonehaven,
observing through his field lens small
openings in its exoskeleton used
for inspiration, meaning it moved its
many legs on dry ground, not seabed.
Or consider this descendent of Pneumo,
younger by four hundred million years,
curled for self-preservation on my palm,
a hard button of red legs whorled inward,
circled by dark armor plate, both of us
breathing air while we wait for a sign
that it is safe to resume whatever it was
we were scurrying to do prior to this
disruption of our forward flow to make
a theological point: Of what use are
metaphors of flight for things with feet?