Articles/Essays – Volume 55, No. 1
Podcast version of this piece.
Here’s the truth: My faith remains
tepid. Lukewarm as summer rain.
Spew-worthy. A compass in fragments, I saved
pieces: base plate, arrow, needle.
Reassembly is beyond me. Millennia ago,
I stood on a street corner & thumped
my brick of scripture. Made my mouth
a spout. A megaphone. In the forest of now
there are a thousand paths
with no signs. Where is the boat launch? Where the islands
cleaving mist? My feet fall
led by whim, by tug. I try
anyway. What I can’t name
I name new, sift
old silt for any speck
that glitters. What shines
in the palm: bird call, blue eggshell.
A breast, handcup of milk. God
has lived in a stone house
hewn by men’s hands
for so long. I seek
entrance to earthen chambers, mounds
that swallow solstice. There I see them,
Elohim, female & male, but choose
her: Mother, the hem
of her robe a garment
I’d like to touch: her face
my mother’s face, her eyes
my daughters’ eyes. I want a god
soft as dough, yeasty, caught in a wooden bowl
at the edge of dawn’s field, rising
on my stove. But, oh—if there’s anything
I can expressly say I know, it’s this: I bear witness
to my penchant for bitter soil,
barren figs. Tending my goats, I make a house
of doubt. I build sanctuaries
of sand, altars to unknowing,
cover them with my thoughts’
intricate lace, upon which I place a nest,
a cradle. And yet, I confess I believe
this world can’t be healed, its bleeding
to midwives who for ages
have been coaxing forth
from their own minds our hidden
Mother. So let’s
ready salves, unguents, salt & muslin for her
urgent redelivery, what could be
You, Dear Reader, could be a midwife.
Who am I to say? Maybe
you already are
massaging perineum with sunflower oil,
hands bracing her crown.
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