He will burrow and gallop, buffalo the prairie
again, penguin the unhatched egg,
then sleep off centuries of miracles
with the three-toed sloth. What a magician,
one minute pirouetting among banks
of cumulus, the next grazing
underground cafés with the star-nosed mole.
Out of caves, from under bridges, a million
translations of a single verb,
limp body lifted in the vulture’s beak.
Surely this time, Lord, we will know
the declensions of your ministry.
One day a rat, the next hundred
years a raccoon, both doing pastoral care
among the wino savants of south Chicago.
Now you twig back and forth,
a Madagascar walking stick,
now you manatee the mangroves.
Does your thirst fill one camel hump
or two? Carry our griefs two nautical
miles below the song of plunging narwhales.
Soon you will fill the globe and we will taste
your bounty, in every shadow,
every flicker of indigo sky, like a flock
of doves passing overhead,
wide as Nebraska, inexhaustible,
something perverse daring us to shoot
you out of that faithful air, and we probably will.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.