Winter 2004
Volume 4, Number 1

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Children's Sermon
The children are angry.

The story is too sweet,
too much about love, Jesus,

being kind to neighbors. No
prophet’s head offered

on a king’s platter like a giant
frightened apple. No one suffers

God’s wrath. No cities burn
to fine ash as sulfur slides

down heaven’s holy sluice
to drown the wicked. No one

grapples God to a draw. A woman,
(voice smooth as her pressed

flower-print skirt) displays pictures,
all the colors of children possible,

arranged on Jesus’ lap like strange
construction paper bouquets, faces

like cotton blooms tucked over
her prim legs. Adults laugh at restless

bodies, cringe as a stocky blonde boy
wanders behind the woman, so even-
toned and unaware, as he performs
practiced karate chops and forms
high kicks over her head. His mother
eyes him from the third pew; he grins,
kicks, grins, kicks, until she clears
the steps in a terrible blur to collect him.

She contains his flailing limbs in a sweep
of her long mother’s arms. He tries

to cry, but she smothers his voice
in her own flowered breast.
The children sit still.

They have glimpsed God’s mighty arms
filled with their brother, have seen God’s

long reach. They believe God’s hands
could gather them up for good.

—David Wright’s poems and essays have appeared in The Christian Century, The Mennonite, and re:generation quarterly, among many others. He teaches writing and literature in the Chicago area.

From A Liturgy of Stones (Telford, Pa.: DreamSeeker Books, an imprint of Cascadia Publishing House, 2002). Published here by permission of author and publisher, all rights reserved.

My Friend at Firestone Asks About Poems
You got any with forklifts in the middle?
Maybe some lines about solvents applied
to assembled tire beads or rubber coated steel wire?
Or about treadstock, or how lunch tastes
at midnight when your nose and throat
burn black, your hands feel like green tires,
waiting to be molded and cured? Anyone write
how good a football game looks on Sunday
at eleven-thirty when you’ve come off twelve-hours,
slept for three, maybe four, and settled
into a recliner, settled into three or four High-Lifes
to watch a batch of ham fisted boys
batter themselves against a sodded field,
against other huge sons of bitches who should be
throwing tires themselves if they weren’t big
as Buicks? Got any stuff with layoffs
and new fishing boats on credit that, dammit,
no one will take back because they can’t be sold
anyway? Your poems got room for a forklift,
a football game, unbreakable cement, new solvents,
lunch at midnight, a place to recline?

—David Wright

From A Liturgy for Stones (Telford, Pa.: DreamSeeker Books, an imprint of Cascadia Publishing House, 2003). Reprinted by permission of author and publisher, all rights reserved.

In the Language of Dreams
Early mornings I navigate sleep’s shore,
almost land, until a delinquent dream
appears like a watery hand and draws me more
and more back to deep, deep heavenly streams
where a waif of a child watches me and sings
from a tree, a golden birch that grows high
in the middle of a river. He swings
thin white arms through the wounded morning sky,
keeps perfect four-four time to my breath, breath,
breath, breath. His voice, richer than his years,
echoes against my inner ear. "O Death,"
he sings, "O Death." Of course he shows no fear
as currents rise to his branch, reach his chest.
A world waits, and wakes, just as waters crest.

—David Wright

From A Liturgy for Stones, (Telford, Pa.: DreamSeeker Books, an imprint of Cascadia Publishing House, 2004). Published here by permission of author and publisher, all rights reserved.

       

Copyright 2004 by Cascadia Publishing House
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