“. . . this the nightmare you wake screaming from:
in the pre-trembling
of a house that falls.” –Galway Kinnell
Here is faith again,
drumming like an unsteady
heart, air sucking
from your lungs as if fright
sought to refill the bronchial tree
with volcanic ash
all the way down to
your tightened scrotum’s
icy fear for your sons
maybe over-celebrating life
drinking too much wine alongside joy-filled
song. And you under the frowning brow
of Jehovah aided by the rictus
smile of the Satan, that old serpent,
when all Hell breaks loose:
cattle rustled, camels purloined,
au revoir to your herd of begotten sons & daughters–
cured of living & partying & love for everafter
by falling brick, howling cries & roof timbers.
Everything inside & outside your bowels tasting disaster,
the desert itself dunes-full of stinging sorrow
until no meaning’s left that isn’t sobbing heartbreak.
Your moaning toward whatever periphery
is left in naming God’s given–however
potshard scraped. Still, a dog-song of whimpering
as you brush flies away from your grief streaked face,
tasting tears through the ashes you have smeared
over your bald head, into your already grey beard.
Not today, not today you think, hands lifted
stoically in prayer when your wife,
on her own horizon of madness,
cannot take her grief from off the coiled smoke
still rising over the collapsed houses
of her buried children,
their corpses yet to be recovered.
She keens what she needs to say:
How can we contain our suffering?
she asks, Curse God and die.
But you will try to persevere, like the arid
silence of God, worship the flame that incinerates you.
Sitting here, waiting on your heart’s
ash heap for the Whirlwind to speak.