In the image of utter doubt, Thomas’s accusing finger
probes into the wound of Christ.
Nature returns silence but nature does not
say no‚ that’s what humans do.
The rest of creation glorifies God: “The birds
sing to him‚ the thunder speaks of his terror. . .‚
the honey is like his sweetness. . . . They give him glory
but do not know they do. . .
But man can know God‚ can mean
to give him glory. This was why he was made” and this is why
we are cursed with self-consciousness‚ why Herbert wrote‚
“I read and sigh and wish I were a tree.”
In the material world‚ things that are invisible
but exist are either too tiny or too far away.
Which‚ God‚ are you? Even doubt can
be concrete. On a cold morning
I have seen how the sun can only melt
the frost shadow doesn’t cling to‚ how
shadow itself‚ rimed with ice‚ gleams.
In the image of utter faith‚
Abraham holds a knife above the throat of his son Isaac‚
ready to slice. Faith or doubt‚ which is more obscene?
Vulnerable‚ labial‚ violated‚ Christ too looking down at it‚
the pierced wound penetrated
by Thomas’s finger‚
and the skin of his forehead bunched like a dress hiked up
to reveal the lewdness of those gaping eyes.
And what does it mean to him now that the wound is real?
This poem is part of BR’s special package celebrating National Poetry Month.