Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Isaiah 41

Almost perfect in her pale
unadorned beauty, the desert stretches
far to the east and the west, splaying fingers,
and far to the north and south, flexing feet.
Her hips and knees and breasts
are sculpted sandy dunes.
Perfect, almost,

except her eyes:
sealed tight, nothing to look for,
and her mouth:
sealed tight, nothing to say.
Lips melted into one over a swollen
and thick tongue.

Who will speak for this woman? Someone
must know what she’s dreaming,
what hope might live, beating,
beneath the nightmare of being frozen
in place by the heat of perpetual day.

Artists came to look at her and declared
her perfect, melting any and every-
thing in the earth around to mimic her image
in gold and in marble and paint and wood.
Then doctors, intrigued by the rise in superstition,
came. And declared her braindead.
There is nothing we can do but wait, they said,
for nature to run its course.

None of them knew
she knew the Maker of nature, the Keeper of time,

who heard the unformed words
and, pleased by the cinders inside her,
let their thin smoke rise beyond the incense
of eloquent poets, magicians, and kings
—vinegar to heavenly teeth.
He smiled,

and she, full of a joy she could not describe,
let rivers run from grateful eyes, and rose,
dressed in a robe of vines and red flowers
woven together and, drunk from its fragrance
and sweet dew, trampled the blind
naked pictures of her in delight.