Sunday, March 6, 2016

Canticle

I saw a small animal walking on a lake,
          a weasel, a skunk, a prairie dog, stirring the 
          surface, oblivious to the clouds, no thunder 
that morning, a glistening on the water as if the sun,
clawing its way through the shadows, were pausing 
          for a moment to catch its breath. Not an unusual day, 
nor miraculous, a Tuesday one could never identify 

or distinguish from another. Yet here, encountering
          an incarnation anticipated by worshipers on the bank,
          alert for the presence they prayed to on a Sunday, 
on a Saturday, shrunken to a flightless mammal scurrying 
over a surface it should have been drowning in, eliciting
          from them not an amen but a sense of resentment, 
          of insult, of foolishness that such a mystery, 

undoubtedly otherworldly, rather than spiriting their 
          significance upward, was actually reducing it—as if 
          deity were little more than a curio one happens upon in 
a park and that ultimately whitens and disappears in 
one’s consciousness, leaving no trace, no tabernacle, 
          no engraving, no cloth, merely an increment
of the ordinary, like a dish or a spoon, that few can find
          reverent without a manual or scroll.

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