World Split Apart


The façade of a building falls away and
reveals a man praying

A bakery loses its show-window showing a
hundred weddings who’ll have to
wait in the next world for their cakes

An Orthodox cathedral split in two
revealing a solemn baptism that’s now become
more like a drowning

A synagogue smashed like the tablets of Moses
the dust of the Torah continuing to
rise for years through the lunar cycles

A medieval mosque’s minaret struck into rubble
and the muezzin’s call going out bodiless
a hundred times louder

The road rutted with machinegun fire
and ghost cows dancing with their dazzled cowherds

New houses and old houses collapsing like cards
and the surprised furniture giving up their
inhabitants like birds released from their cages

Windows of government buildings falling into streets
revealing some making secret deals and others
receiving holy light for works of self-sacrifice
anonymously accomplished

A firehouse going up in flames and no
nozzle quenching it

A police department getting flattened and no
police whistles piping through the roar of falling plaster

Trees just coming into bud turning as black as
pokers their fruit both present and future
now gracing the fresh tables of the dead

Hillsides turning as black as ash
revealing lairs of tiny mammals
tremblingly shielding their young

This earth sliced apart like a unripe melon
revealing both incandescent fury
and radiant secrets of redemption
incomprehensibly intertwined

No one returning with a happy face at the
end of the day or followed by children like the
Pied Piper to safety beyond the rocks

The soul of man split asunder at the
first crack of unjust death and unjust retaliation

revealing a person naked drenched in
original water coming toward us surrounded by
anticipatory angels anxious for an

outcome already known to Him
who benignly created us

and Whose Voice rises inaudibly
above all other voices

saying over and over
the single word:


8/2/2006 (from In the Realm of Neither)

Categories: Poems