(posted Tuesday, Nov. 19; to be composted Tuesday, Nov. 26) To hear “Offertory” read by the poet, click here or on the title. Some hear you in night thunder and they brace
For Holy Anger, retribution for
Our sad, half-skillful sins. But when that wrath
Invades the air, it’s not your voice or name
I hear, only the power of some great stir
Beyond precisely what we know. All our
Lives are only time, and I’ll tell you all
We know of time, its movement and its pull,
Its meaning to our unrequited skins:
A momentary blooming, gradual
Diminishment, breath’s small surrender, then
What then? Forgiveness or liberty? A
Merging, maybe, with a knowing umbra
Just beyond us, a presence or absence
Recognizable as you. I wonder
Who you think you are, and why it’s you we
Lean toward and hunger for, justifying
Whatever you may do or do not do,
Transforming every loss to offerings–
Eternal currency. This bartering
In darkness we call faith, this unmapped walk
Along a path that we can’t see, babbling
Earthly words through thunder, waiting for you
To show us to your steep eternity.

Patricia Traxler’s most recent book of poems is Forbidden Words.