Monday, July 6, 2009

For the Sycamore (Poem)

Here's another from Browns and Rusts. I'm unsure how it reads outside of my head. Feedcrack welcome.

For the Sycamore
(On Zaccheus)

She’s always been the narrative crux,
her branches grown thick
as his presence in Luke, raising
his faith so he can anoint God’s head
with his sweat, her shadow pinned tight
to the Teller’s canopied bosom of words.

She’s no different here in her browns
and rusts, peering down the blouse
of my soul from the artist’s throng,
playing my gaze through the spaces
between her sprawling geography.
She frames her fruit well on that throne

of a branch where he sits mid-startle
against the plot twist, holding his perch
to keep from falling too hard
on his faith. Yet the centuries
nearest her act, the children of the children
of the child nearest the viewing pane—

see how she tilts her head toward the throng,
mouth wide; tries to suckle
from the tale—forget; even Zaccheus
moves on after Christ points him out, calls him
down, invites himself over for tea
with the publican and his family.

But Christ’s finger reaches
beyond his words, beyond pigment, beyond
the curving branch of the sycamore
he touches at last. Always
to the Garden. To the serpent. And
Eve, knowledge dripping from her lips

like juice pressed from a thousand figs
as Adam walked in from the cool of day
and she reached to fit his waist
with the apron
she’d learned to make from her Mom.