Faith coined to burn us out
Julia Cohen, Practice by Fire and Doubt
Stillness. A cold hand in your chest at the fraying edge of day. A hand plunged then splayed, unearthly chill, between your hot organs and prickled naked skin. Raking over and over your faith, fragile as ribs.
Faith is a body, faith is a currency, bought and sold, exchanged for goods, lost in a pocket, rubbed to disfigurement, buried under ash for centuries then rediscovered, an artifact, by a curious scholar in a brimmed hat with a bandana over her mouth, which is round as an O under the thin mass-produced cloth. Faith is fondled, faith is cheapened, faith matures too early and dies too soon, burned out on endless nights of endless prayers and votives and palpitating catechisms.
Always with this, before it and with it and after it: stillness. Cold and glassy-quiet, thick like liquid silver. No assurance of salvation on its far side, no steady insistence of right and wrong. It might be a fire burning black-on-black, void of utterable language. It moves like an ocean meeting itself coming and going.
and we’ve been taught
the mouth of the world opens
Luisa A. Igloria, That everything has a use beyond its given life
Solar flares. A dancer, arms outreached, waist wilting
elegantly; an empty socket in the hip’s girdle.
A religion of want. Of labial vowels, liturgies
of awful truths. Heterodox canticles measured out
by decay. Withered stems releasing their burdens
to an unseen world.
Heliospheres of joy, antiphons of silence. Nuclei,
negative space. Cenotaph and matrix. The single line
A bridge. A cathedral’s ribbed vault.
The splaying knuckles of my hand.
A curtain, parted.
We must risk delight.
Jack Gilbert, A Brief for the Defense
Because delight is a little white boat
Because risk is a splintered seat
Because delight is a glistening applause
Because risk is a wind in the leaves
Because delight is the small flame
in the altar of the eyes
Because risk is the god of our beating breath
Because delight is the yellow star of a crocus
Because risk is the radius of winter
Because delight is a name I know
Because risk is a body I love
Image courtesy of DS