We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


Inner city priest

It might as well be the inner sea,
all these people floating by in surges,
welcome calm after the last parishioner
slips away at low tide,
after the third mass, after he’s greeted
each one personally, remembering
chief worries, daughter
in trouble, husband wronged,
teenage boy not certain
if he’s in or out of religion, black-hatted
old woman who swam in during mass,
fluffy white-suited—some misguided
angel. The day is old. He walks back
alone to the huge rectory built for twelve,
now inhabited by one priest and the tidal wave of his God.

Memory play

Charlie Kaufman may be both the most original screenwriting talent to emerge in the past ten years and the most exasperating. He inspires fervent loyalty among some film buffs because his ideas are playful and heady; they don’t start out or play out like anyone else’s, and at their best they can liberate actors’ most inventive impulses.

To the gift giver

Since Grace has struck once more
with gifts beyond all need of giving,
we give ourselves to giving thanks.

In giving thanks, we find once more
ourselves inclined to giving;
by Grace giving, we give thanks.

Should Grace return once more
to bring us joy in giving,
all will know a round of thanks—

Once more giving to the Giver thanks.


My Presbyterian father

He would sit
Sunday mornings
in his big steepled chair
the cross hung
gold and unswayed overhead
a man in a robe.
I had seen him dress
sitting on the side of his bed
he wore ribbed gauzy undershirts
and white boxer shorts
and my father’s legs
had no hair where socks go.
As the organist played a meditation
he would span his forehead with his hand
and seem to suffer
but then leaning back
his bright eyes would go
fishing for me in the dark congregation
and I waited

and waited until
he caught me and smiled.
During most of the service
I stared at unmoving
biblical men in stained glass.
I loved to have him
see me in church
and after the sermon
I stood in line
and went through
shaking his hand
like we didn’t know
each other
and I told him I enjoyed it
and he put his other hand
on top of mine.



First there was the twitch
          of the olive leaf lipping its stem,
                    then the sigh of silt, settling,
                              and the surrender of crickets,                                         their legs, like fans, folding,
                                   when the trill of a brook,
                 intoxicating, irresistible,
             like the grace of his Lord,
carried him away that evening—
            no chariot for Enoch
                     at the age of 365
                            who walked with God
                                   and simply
                                            like the last day in a year
                                                    was no more.