We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner



Fig tree dominates the garden,
gray and knobby against gray fog,
its bare branches grotesque.
Like the old, bent parishioners
my father would visit, taking me
along, a child. They stroked
my hands, my woolen dress,
reached out with cloudy eyes.

This tree reaches everywhere,
as though light can be caught.
Slow sun drains through, stirs
a wing. Then one morning
I see them, green tips of figs
hard as emeralds escaping
from every knuckled grasp.


Fish stories

Tim Burton’s Big Fish begins with a sentimental premise: an 11th-hour reconciliation between a dying father and his estranged son.

Heaven revised

The boy was thrown against the ground, his arms
flung wide so I could see
under the bent grille of the farmer’s truck
his narrow chest rise and fall—so I could hear
between the swish of passing cars
that click of breath and bone.

Even now I watch the rain—but there was no rain—
spark against the road. I see his hair—
but from where I stood his face was turned—
soaked against the ripe
fruit of his cheek.

the bus had stopped for gas.
I left my seat and walked across the empty lot
hoping for a sink to rinse my mouth.
I remember the black field
beyond the road, the moonless sky and how
I strained to tell heaven from earth.

Truth is, that morning no one was saved.
No one lit a cigarette and proclaimed Never again
to anything. Strange. How I can see
each orange fall from the bed of the truck,
thump onto the pavement and roll
gently to a stop.


Property rights

Before the advent of drug traffickers and serial killers, films often focused on conflicts over real estate. Think of the red dirt of Tara in Gone With The Wind, the stately mansion in The Magnificent Ambersons or the contested open plains in Shane. Property is also the focal point of House of Sand and Fog, based on the 1999 novel by Andre Dubus III.

This is the night for Yahweh

The dough is not fermented;
provisions are not made;
and yet, it is time.
The Egyptians are pressing us.

The bell is ringing.
I curse to myself,
looking down at my watch.
The bell insists. I am afraid.

OK, OK, I say aloud
(for such curses can’t
be uttered by a monk)
walking to the church.

Egypt is stripped.
The mind empties
like a slow leak
And we begin the long journey . . .