Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

The farm wife eats out at Marner’s Six Mile Café

Widowed farmers cram the table
near the peanut butter pies,

but I prefer the back booth
beneath a pike framed with flowers.

Under a coffee cup’s “Start your day
with Jesus,” I find Topeka Seed & Stove.

Once, when it was crowded,
we ate in the kitchen where an Amish

cook beats batter while flipping eggs
and watching toast. Annie doesn’t bring

us menus. She knows the girls and I
will order pancakes with cinnamon butter

faces. When my sisters visit, they say,
“Let’s go someplace with atmosphere.”

They mean a chain near the interstate
where they decorate with movie stars

and license plates, where the booths
are so tall, you can’t see your neighbors.

Poetry

Lazarus

Perhaps you are perplexed to determine
how two such disparate stories could be told
about me. But the truth hides somewhere between
and beyond these accounts—I was neither a poor
beggar nor a wealthy intimate of God’s Son.

If in these tales I appear as a mere prop—a passive
player in parables concerned with actors who wielded
some form of genuine power—thus far you may credit
each tale: I had no voice. Dumb from birth,
the real miracle for me would have been to speak.

And yet this never seemed to me a curse or even a lack—
I grew to love my silence, and in my early years I was
thought to be simply shy as my maternal sisters
supplied my voice in public encounters. Indeed, their
ready reading of my intent was all the miracle I craved.

I neither anticipated nor needed any return from
the grave—that was about his need, his purpose,
not mine. And to be enfolded in the arms of Abraham
like some Isaac or Ishmael, my sight simply a torment
to some rich fool—what is that to me? To you?

Books

Book of Hours, by Kevin Young

The sudden death of a parent and years of smoldering grief that follow, the breathless anticipation of the birth of a child and years of awkward wonder that follow—these experiences are among the subjects of an attractive book of poems by an award-winning poet. Many of these poems were written out of moments when his nerves were frayed and confidence shaken.