You are not deaf, Endless.

You hear bleeding in the brain—electric tremors quavering like strings.

You sense fog roil and roll from temple to temple, impaling itself on petrified branches which have forgotten how to unfurl leaves.

Your lightning strikes cold rock. The bolt pries at eyelids, all your own. The thunder rumbles against eardrums, all your own. A coral crown shatters on limestone.

You quicken skin just to freeze it again. The shoulders of children tremble. Their scarves have been stripped away by old, impatient men. Fever-driven, these elders entreat: “Come, fair ones! Let us die so we may be resurrected!”

Matter asks: Endless, how did innocence ever come from you? How, from you, came tiny fingers reaching for mothers across a space so vast light cannot find its edge? The innocent stumble on the ugliness of crags; they skin their limbs for want of balance. Trembling, the ugliness and innocence are all your own.

Matter contemplates your scale, Endless; next, they contemplate the scale of their mother’s womb; last, they contemplate the scale of a single thought—a tiny bolt of lightning in their brain. Three scales. One gospel.

They are your bleeding, Endless. They are your tremors. Their ancestors, the rock your ego strikes. To hear them all is to hear yourself.

Poet’s Notes

The relevant scripture references for this poem are Moses 1:3 and 7:32-35 in the Pearl of Great Price. That said, the passage which got me going was Psalm 139. It is assigned reading for a Jesuit prayer workshop I’m participating in during Lent.

The featured image is of boulders on Little Round Top near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, taken by the author.