We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


The mind's eye

Could be the sun, if it ever was.
                                                          Darkening sky, darker shapes
not shadows but clouds
                                           shapes only you can see—
smoke from a fire,
                                 that dream about your mother.

Could be the thing at the back of your eye
                                                                            upside down
until the brain turns it around—

trees walking on their leaves,
                                                      wearing their roots like hair.

Could be the thought you forgot
                                                            then remembered later
after everyone had gone.

In the daytime it’d be different.
                                                       Everything white and fluffy.
The sky blue.

Still the half-formed shape, the real beneath.


On Music

The band R.E.M. is easy to love—and hate. In the 1980s the group from Athens, Georgia, defined college and indie rock. It grafted locomotive Rickenbacker guitar and bass onto the no-nonsense beats of Bill Berry and the barely audible but alluring vocals of Michael Stipe.

If, then

A wave in the water. The word
              opens, shape for knowing
                            at edges, darker fields, trouble:
a wave in the water. The word
                            waits long to shatter on silence,
                             prove, prove that falling is
a wave. In the water, the word
              opens, shape for knowing.


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?

Baptism by Rembrandt's prints

His fascination with light begins
in a lantern held by a shepherd,
over a little family against inky velvet.
Then light shifts; Christ becomes core.
When he preaches rays fall like song on
some earnest, captivated faces, some
distracted by other conversations,
and a dog facing the wrong way.

From his raised hand light spills
like waterfall over Lazarus and
lifts him, pale and twisted
into that luminous aura.
Even on the cross, the thin
etched lines leave an ivory
bowl around him, gather
from dimness the only dawn.

The limp corpse with extended
ribs still radiates. Its slide starts
at a peasant face, guided into arms
that catch the contagious light,
leaking onto the stocky official,
plumply supervising procedures.
Visual poems carved on copperplate:
I stood rinsed in that light.