Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

If you had been here, Lord

Back a week from the grave. He pecks at the food
his sisters set before him. He is afraid to sleep. He imagines
the eyes of everyone upon him but they are careful not to stare,
a meaningless courtesy: the midday sun consumes both sight and soul.
His funeral shroud is unburnt—he won’t allow it—but his sisters
refuse to permit its being brought into the house. Sometimes
they catch him holding it to his face and weeping into it. It smells
so foully that not even the crows will approach it. He rarely speaks
but sometimes talks of going away. It is almost, to their shame,
to be wished for.

Poetry

Yahweh at Mamre

We take turns monitoring the storm’s approach;
I’ve rolled the awnings, taken laundry from the lines.
Dull strips of cloud stretch from the west;
Wind-prodded, trees wake from an afternoon’s listlessness.

My wife completes one last stitch from her sewing.
In the lull, I read from Genesis: Yahweh.
Fed and rested in the shade of a terebinth tree,
Walks toward Sodom and Gomorrah, cities of the plains.

Their contempt, we can be sure, is unforgiven.
We know by instinct not to meddle with such intimacy.
The tornado sirens sound; all over town, citizens
Descend to their basements. The temperature drops.

Wind and rain begin their agony; divine demonstrations.
My wife kisses me, covered with the cinders of Lot’s hope.