Jerichos

Long before her son’s whirling and untimely demise, my paternal grandmother believed in her traction with elected officials. I remembered this belief upon my first campaign, which was, parenthetically, about the loss of a single child and an unjust judge.

Who save me

would draw a line between Mamaw and the rise and fall of Hasmonean kings?

Amidst all this talk of unjust judges and rising kings

I tell myself there must be

sycamores in Jerichos still

Awaiting His return

Machine Translation

The old woman and the older woman sit down across a flimsy folding table. Between them there is a plexiglass barrier, the kind you might encounter now at a doctor’s office or the checkout line at the grocery store.

This time we all know we are contagious, right?

They type into complementary machines–one English to Korean and the other Korean to English

Do not forgive these Korean letters, forgive something else if you will.

The devastating depths men may plunge to

If the womenfolk fail to speak.

Rapture

Waited in the animal clinic

(It was touch and go those days)

looked up at the plastic picture fitted

over the flat fluorescent light

A joyful tangle

of cats, dogs, suitcases, lamps, unicycles

Bowler hats and other ephemera

as though a world populated entirely by domestic animals had

Lost its purchase on gravity

Things rise in a riotous jumble

Rapture, I think

One day we will

Rise and float

Balloons in blue sky

Ah-buh-nim

The little boy in the picture wore the most adorable overalls

And brand-spanking-new shoes

He approached the chicken in the unfamiliar garden

With the utmost deference,

The pears still hung on the trees, each carefully wrapped in old newspapers to shield them from pestilence

An unseasonably warm day to worship one’s ancestors and

The food at the restaurant was good

Something about historically accurate food

In the last few moments before

The two little red-headed children

Reported

All they saw–aggressor-accomplice-victim

The little boy in the picture wore the most adorable overalls

Lazarus

He walks into every room looking for someone who might comprehend

what it is

he has seen and heard

He weighs their solemn waiting-room-faces

Do they have

Better memories now? Do they still need to write things down or

Know every word by heart?

Are all the lambs among them and

can we see their scars?

Who can end this waiting

By calling us out

Out into life

Let us forsake all our wasted days

It would be an ordinary basking day for the spiny and the green

Lizards who sun on the rocks and the fences

We would beat the palms of our hands on the opacity of windows

Before we opened them to warn off

night so late that morning is just a nap’s distance

Away

The fans would beat their wings

Now while we can

Let us forsake

all our wasted days.

Lazarus was at the table

John 12:2-3 NIV

[2] Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. [3] Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

What do you or I know about spikenard? It is named for a place or places, it grows in the Himalayas, it came from afar, a pint would have been a fortune, an amount of almost incomprehensible treasure.

I say almost because Mary knew what she was doing.

The incomprehensible treasure was the Man at the table.

This scene so similar to the earlier one–

Martha served

And Lazarus was at the table

Only we know now, what Mary knew then–

He is the perfume that fills the house

Dead raised to life, his life for mine,

Nothing will ever

Be the same

Killer Dogs/Beautiful Clouds

As you well know, I have been trying to focus on the presence of signifiers–the feral blender noises the dogs make when they are behind the dark door–the way the clouds pool and furl in beautiful splendor–let us say our daily prayers

Swap the signifiers

Killer clouds for beautiful dogs

This savage world/all ripped to pieces

While the light of one ordinary star is enough to

Remind me

Just how good you are

At holding on to me

All the same.