Not much is left of this fourth-century
stone church barnacled to the broken temple
honoring the goddess Artemis. And this
early synagogue partly restored.
Moonlight dissolves the acropolis. The apostle drifts—a shadow, a
ghost—past Roman baths, fragmented capitals of pillars, pagan altars.
Past a gymnasium. His sandals tattered, old cloak stained. He is scouting
for a synagogue. He is a man driven. Not by legions of soldiers, unleashed
dogs, the searing arc of a steel-enhanced leather lash. A thorn in the flesh
invokes the voice that spoke from the light that blinded him. A vision is
uncovered in his heart. A summons clear as if it happened yesterday.
You woke this morning to sun and birdsong but by noon
sky glowers, olive trees crowding the bus window
waver between shimmer and shade. Birds are silent.
At night the moon’s ghost shadows you.
The trumpet voice fell silent
in Sardis. Lamp stand empty,
the ancient scroll rolled up,
the angel gone.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.