numinousmagazine

Catherine Zickgraf

In Issue 4 on October 31, 2009 at 7:51 am

Mercy

God cups me in his blue hand.
Over the marble atmosphere, I swing,
hair trailing like comet fire
or strands of kite bows.

Trillions have existed,
sorting through trash,
but my neighbors and I
landscape our palaces.

He’s patient as I wander.
He values my thoughts.
I ponder the Lord,
and He responds.

Suppose God tipped His mighty palm,
prying apart my fetal curl
and I landed
among God’s subsistent children.

I’d get what I deserve.
A thousand generations have
suffered and struggled
from the evil of life.

But among the masses are pilgrims of
humble faith who proclaim
they’re locked
into God’s blue hand, too.

Matilda

We prayed before lunch for Matilda.
She is two, and her Daddy just died.
My boys were waiting, kicking feet at their table,
Joshy in his kitty chair, and Joey in his doggie chair.
We were about to eat our fish fillets and carrot sticks—
my brown-haired boys with bowed heads.

I remember Pat Robertson on TV
sometime before Matilda and Joey were born.
“It is absurd this film gets so much acclaim
when it has no objective cinematic value.
It’s just more proof,” he said at the camera,
“that the media worships these gays.”

In bed one night—Tom on his side beside me
sleeping hard from working like a machine,
his muscled arms pinned the pillow over his head.
I found among the TV channels a broad, cold sky,
eyes discovering steely eyes, and
cattle driven up through the mountains.
The character went home and contained well his feelings—
a father of two, a new job and a wife.
I imagined his longing from my TV-lit bed
and I pressed closer against my lover’s curve.

We were legit, though.
Married the requisite newly-wed years before
conceiving our white and male and beautiful children—
their Daddy rich, their Ma good lookin’.
But in the movie, love destroyed.
A family dissolved, and children afraid.
In the end his lover was murdered by a mob,
one un-impressed by the media’s “gay worship.”

Oh, Pat, Oh, Pat: on TV in sheep’s clothing.
You are a false prophet, a ravenous wolf.
But it’s not about you at all,
A little girl has lost her Daddy.
Don’t tell me he deserved to die
because he played gay in a movie.
As for my little family, gathered at lunch,
we pray to our God of love
that He will be an oak tree of a Father
to Matlida, this small, and fatherless child.

The Legend of Sudden Sanctification

John Newton was a people-thief
and was on his way by ocean
to sell his loot as slaves.
This was his profession.
He was proud of his ship,
it was sturdy and strong.

One day the rains came,
and the winds blew
and beat upon that ship.
Captain John, ill at the wheel,
the ship’s belly filling with water,
prayed to his Maker
to spare him his life.

And in return, the story goes,
our hero promised to
reverse his course,
return to the coast,
dust off his hostages,
and deposit them home.
But that’s not what happened.

The conscience of a man
is dull and slow.
And conversion is not known
for resolving that swiftly.

Most days I fall short
of my own standards.
Even those who don’t believe in my standards
know what they are
and demand them of me.
And here I am, I disappoint.

But the reality of the plan
is gradual change—
from liar to teller of truth,
from gossip to trustworthy friend.
Or, as the case sometimes is,
from professional kidnapper to jobless liberator.

There is a long life in between conversion and perfection.
And on this earth, I will disappoint.
But, Victim of my failure, I will love you with my heart
though with my actions I will fail.

Thirty-two years after his Godly pact,
John realized his thievery was wrong.
And by then the retired captain had nothing to lose.

“Amazing Grace,” often a silly jingle
sung by felons on TV,
was our hero’s handiwork.

The act of mercy our captain recorded wasn’t his ocean life-sparing.
It was the incredible patience his God had shown
throughout John’s lifetime
of failure and
human-ness.

Catherine Zickgraf is indebted to myspace for helping her find her long-lost son whom she placed for adoption two decades ago—thus you can find her blog there: myspace.com/czickgraf

Her poetry has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in BirdsEye Review. She also has work forthcoming in GUD Magazine and decomP.

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  1. Catherine,you are an awesome writer,and a spectacular friend,I enjoy your work,and am looking forward to reading even more in
    the future!
    Best regards,
    Cheryl Gravitt aka sailingonthesea

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