We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner



When I’m reading a joke out loud
from a new joke book, I hear
my voice start to falter, from laughter,
almost to weep, from laughter,
the way my sister’s voice did as a child
or a woman, especially if somebody
made a bathroom joke; and my father’s
voice did, when he wasn’t just poking
fun at someone, when he found
something really funny; slapstick
got him laughing that way, sometimes.
A laughter beyond words, maybe
beyond grief. As I hear myself
laughing like them, with them,
I say: a laughter beyond death.

Jesus boot camp

I made a weekend visit to an Amish community in northern Indiana just days after the funerals of the Amish schoolgirls shot in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse. I happened to pass a schoolyard outside a one-room schoolhouse where a dozen or so Amish children were playing and staring out through the fence. It gave me chills.

Who's who

      But Martha was distracted with much serving (Luke 10:40)

And why do we assume that Martha is the elder of the two?
Maybe she is the younger one, always stuck
with Mary’s chores while Mary practices meditation,

her yoga, her imaging, maybe arranges
crystals on the living-room floor.
Martha has been abandoned

in the kitchen for years, lifting the stone pitchers
of water from off the porch with both hands
day after day, her young back giving way

under the strain, pouring out her youth to provide
her older sister and this latest rabbi of hers
another of her good portions.


Ready or not

The readiness is all, he says, but I’m not
ready, not for this: the bluebird back before
her time—that is, if she ever left—the winter
soft as summer mist when pink buds swell
too soon, surprising. Which should, it seems,
be cause for joy, but, yet again, it is not so,
for on this fragile island earth, ice fields melt,
dark waters rise, and sweeping north in wild
flight, swans bear within them seeds of death,
not yet in bloom, but it will come when warbler,
wood duck, raven, wren drop from the silent sky
like stones; and in the green dawn no birds sing.

Tinseltown exposé

Television cemented stardom in the 1950s for many celebrities of radio, vaudeville and motion pictures—Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, even Alfred Hitchcock. The first TV star created by the infant medium was George Reeves.