Poetry - April, 2004

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.











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.
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

Season of surprise

This time of year,
what with bulbs bursting
through to light, crashing
headlong into color, puff balls
of sudden pink, cloud clumps
of eager violet and white crowding,
clustering, clambering up and along
each naked stem and branch,
what with the gray lawn’s sweet,
impulsive greening, the chill creek’s
snow-melt speedy surface coat
of foam and flashing ripples,
what with these birdsong brimming dawns,
these chirping, marsh-born, peeper
chants that hymn the day to rest,
what with such hastening, glad abandon
rushing, coursing, flooding, charging
toward life, tales of a vacant tomb,
of bindings cast like scattered husks
and the rumbling of a cold, dead rock
to clear the way for all that is to come,
such tales seem almost natural. What else
should we have expected, after all?