Though it is Written

Munch's Scream journal

THOUGH IT IS WRITTEN

that grace comes only by way
of a primordial breath,
you know it to be no less
manifest for its taking of alternate routes,
as surely it finds you by the grasping-
of-a-Bic no. 2-mechanical-pencil way;

by the miraculous-
proximity-of-your-notebook-
with-Munch’s-iconic-Scream-
embossed-in-gold-on-the-cover-
to-your-waiting-for-this-morning’s-
nine-grained-slice-to-toast way;

as well as the letting-
your-hand-drag-a-wake-
of-coffee-stains-across the pages-
because-you-opt-today-
to-imbibe-your-reflux-inducing-libation-
over-not-doing-so’s-throbbing-promise-
of-a-4:00-pm-migraine way;

not to mention the way
you habitually open
the blinds to another barely-lit dawn
that grants you a glimpse of a northern flicker
scrabbling for purchase on the finch feeder
in a flapping blaze of belly, feathers
& beaked seeds flung in ceremonious
presumption of some nearby female’s interest;

or the way you finally take a breath—

which you need to take
before your face re-stones itself
in the memory of those children
who were murdered
in yesterday’s mass shooting
in a Texas elementary school*,

for how else can you still hope?—

which delivers you to the way
your twelve-year-old red heeler
recruits what measure of her brown-eyed vigilance
she can still muster to shepherd
this whole bed-headed-faux-cheetah-printed-
heartsick-kitchen-calamity of you
past the counter-top-mounds of clutter,
through a shadowed valley’s ice age
& back to the light
of a green pasture beside still water

in the beginning

when the Word was God

& the light in you was the way.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER
*Updated from the 2017 version: “yesterday’s mass shooting / in a Texas church”
“Though it is Written” first appeared in The Winnow Magazine in November 2019.

7 thoughts on “Though it is Written

  1. So many lines in this feel perfectly normal, and then come killings clearly NOT normal, even by current Texas episodes. “The light in you” is still the way – your poetry (this one for sure) shines a light through darkness for others to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

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