Thursday, July 30, 2009

I once found religion at the dollar store (Poem)

Here's another I've been working on for Browns and Rusts. I'm wondering how the imagery holds together (if at all) and if the language is crisp enough. And I'm posting it because, well, I need some feedback, which, as always, is completely welcome.

* * * *

I once found religion at the dollar store:
(On Olive Leaf)

the Word wrapped in cellophane ripped
on the binding side where the price tag
should have been, top-shelved beside
glossy atlases full of trips my daughters
have taken across the in-laws’ living room
floor, roving Grandpa’s hardbound book
of oversized maps with an eight-by-ten
lens that makes an omniscient eye, hills
wave, the oceans and rivers climb the banks
of their innocence; beside pocket planners
and a pack of Wrigley’s the clerk will have to
re-stock on an impulse tier because someone
changed minds, chose the two-for-a-dollar
nut rolls instead, let the chewing gum lie
a half-aisle down.

And again on a morning run up Galbraith Hill:
the rise and fall, longer rise and fall of body
against wind, flesh pressed into silence like
the New Zealand fern leaf I flattened
into my KJV and smuggled past customs
into the canon of memory; have climbed like
Eve Adam’s ribs, Jacob angel flesh, Christ
Israel’s barbed history, my soul rubbed thin
on the altitude, God at my heels, the crickets
gone dumb in the thrum of his entourage,
the meadows ablaze with their sigh.

And now in Noachian blue: in the swell
of these doves ripe as Eden in fall, as this Eve
whose flesh gathers amniotic sky, the deluge
receding in purl and girth of fabric, wind, and
limb bent beneath atmospheres of God; in
the ribs of the leaf she reads with her fingertips
like a roadmap to peace, feeling for the pulse
of this tree Adam planted the night they
buried Abel, watched Cain retreat into dusk,
his footfalls marring the field the two had
haunted as boys, laughter spilling through harvest
like his brother’s blood the moment he pulled
the blade, heard Lucifer’s laugh in the gash,
and turned to wipe his hands on the flock come
to drink from the river of God’s sudden tears.