Copyright (c) 1999 First Things 91 (March 1999): 9, 26, 32.

Bedtime and Weekly

Our toddler slices the air
with a bandaged finger,
her makeshift cross
more complete
by her young, scratched skin,
a reminder of all our “boo“boo’s”
piling up in the flesh
till we cry out
our alphabet beginnings,
Abba gurgling in the throat
we hold up weekly
for the bread and wine

that settles nightly
in our wounded souls,
cradles to sleep those childish
doubts now grown“up
in our bodies,
so immature and mortal
and hungry for the calm
clean milk of continuous
childlike prayer.

- Marjorie Maddox


Grania at the Museum of Science and Industry

I am Grania.
I am sitting here looking at a baby in a bottle.
Its feathery hair floats in formaldehyde,
Its eyes are closed tight in an undersea nap
From which there will be no awakening.
It has everything,
All the human necessities,
Fingernails
Eyelashes
Tiny conch“like ears
Dimples and creases and a fat little belly.
It’s a great little baby,
Except that it’s dead.

Bottled rudiments, all in a row.
Flecks of humanity
Dropped from inhospitable wombs,
Cold“packed by scientists from
A bleak harvest to be placed
Like a housewife’s summer’s work
On a cellar shelf. This freak show.
Is this one mine? That one yours?
The mothers come as if to Parents’ Day at school
To wonder who is the prize of the display,
Unique in some hellish way.

By this one, I am beguiled.
Observe that plump rump.
Reminds me
Of J. Swift’s recipe
For fricassee
Of child.

In the first flush of love,
My true love gave to me
One embryo
Nestled inconveniently.
She was a girl,
With her sex tucked inward between fat little pads.
Just one of many abandoned by fun“loving dads.

By the third week,
There was a heart,
A mere pinpoint, but
Though its elfin beats are silenced,
They echo and echo,
Sending bubbles of reproach to the top of the jar.
And I hear
And hear
And I feel
Your gargantuan wrath,
but from afar.

Sorry, sweetie,
Mommie simply had to commit you to the jar.

- Rosemary Hamilton


Comma

. . . of all that is, seen and unseen

what we see and don’t
split by the simple curve
of cursive, a pencil slip
or determined nitch
on paper. God
Almighty,
we miss epiphany
when we step
our voice too quickly
over the light lines
punctuating the Light
of all that is,
visible and invisible,
our hurried eyes
forgetting to read
what so powerfully pauses
our lives between
the meanings.

”Marjorie Maddox

Articles by Various

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