Jeanne Murray Walker
Miniature Psalm: Complaint in Autumn
You claim you've weighed the mountains
in your scales. But have you noticed
lately small chunks of the world are falling off?
I sweep leaves from the walk. The oak,
like the mainmast of a warship, towers above me,
sending down more of its brown hands,
which hardly weigh a thing. And me? I'm just
a bit of bone and hair. My vessels, commonplace
as finishing nails that hold our house together.
Your thunder shakes my teeth. On our hillside,
little fingers of drizzle pick the last chrysanthemums
to pieces. I don't bear a grudge, mind you,
I only wonder if you could step closer, whisper
something smaller. Back in the house now,
wiping my feet, I hear scratching. A dentist
with his pick. Or a mouse, maybe.
Brilliant eyes, cowlicky fur, and in her genetic coding,
years of wiles from research labs. As she helps herself
to our birdseed, I think I hear her breathing.
Okay, I think, okay. What she is, can't help,
didn't ask for, and is doomed to love—herself.
I flick on the porch light to keep her safe
from owls. I can almost see us from the road, a tiny
house, hanging like one last gold leaf in the oak tree.
Copyright © 2010 by the author or Christianity Today/Books & Culture magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Books & Culture.