Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

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.
Poetry

The pastor's wife and I

The pastor’s wife does not go out to play.
Outside it is Tuesday—merciless and far

from Sunday. She is all righteous carrots
and earnest potatoes. Sometimes she hurts

me with her notions, makes my shoulders droop,
reminds me that Nola’s dreams are a troupe

of untrained monkeys. She recycles
my prayers, drags me away from dark angels.

But, when her hair grew prim and gray, I made
her dye it brown. Then, she chose our second husband,

a good man given to chills—him, I seduced.
Now, like a gun, she holds her watch

to my ear, forces me to write these poems.
It was I who fed her those wild greens,

a salad cut from the last of my pagan
garden’s rue. Her mouth burns

for benedictions and shooting stars.
Into my mirror she stares, worries

I might disappear—her feral woman—
the woman who met Christ at the well.

















Poetry

Reach hither thy finger

Maybe the wound still oozed, or maybe
it had healed over with scars like golden coins.
Thomas might have noticed, but I doubt it.

True, he placed his finger in the Lord’s hand,
and his hand in the Lord’s side,
and then, we presume, he held his heart

in the bleeding heart. I like to think that.
And I like to think that years later he was still
radiant with holy light. My unholy hunch, though,

is that within a week he learned to doubt
his eyes or his touch, maybe both, maybe
whether he’d really been in the room or not,

or if again the elders had sent him out
for bread or fish, anything to keep his mouth
out of earshot. He wasn’t the type to suffer

his loss in silence, and the more he wondered,
the more they doubted, too. That’s my guess.
And that may be why only John, the youngest

of the bunch, the mystic, the beloved, the mad,
recalled the very day, and cared enough
about belief to recall the shame of doubt.











Film

Common ground

The genteel French film Monsieur Ibrahim, directed by François Dupeyron, is based on the book Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran, by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, who also coscripted the movie. It is a tender story about a Turkish Muslim and a French Jew. The setting is 1960s Paris, in the gritty but colorful Rue Bleue district, once infamous for its assortment of streetwalkers.
Poetry

Enoch

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.