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Issue 105

The cover of issue 105 features the work of Jordan Eagles, who preserves blood samples from HIV-positive donors in resin. Plus a photo essay by Antonio McAfee, who recasts soul musicians as figures from art history. Fiction in which Sarah Stone imagines quarantine on board the ark. Yes, that ark. More fiction from Alexander Ramirez on the apocalyptic call for justice. Jewish and Christian calligraphers writing with their whole bodies. The curators of MOCRA-St Louis on responding to the times, from the AIDS crisis to the present day. James K.A. Smith on art, solitude, and quarantine. Rachel Sturges on what we don’t tell kids about God. A conversation with Diane Glancy on the brokenness of language, her love of long-distance driving, and the loneliness of being Native and Fundamentalist. Elisabeth Booze phoning home, family dinners, and the legacy of American violence against Black people. Ann Thomas on what she found while digging up grave markers. Andrew Hendrixson on how to hurt someone with a pencil. Poems by Martha Serpas, Kim Garcia, Robert Stewart, and more.

Curator’s Corner: Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, St. Louis


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From the beginning, I wanted to challenge people’s ideas about what religious art could be, to stretch categories and ways of thinking, to show that the artists of our time continue to engage in meaningful dialogue with the great faith traditions—and also that this art is in dialogue with the present moment. It’s unafraid to ask, “Who is my neighbor?”  

Dismal


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The black dog in the yard 
is darkness visible.  

On the Poetic Qualities of Groceries


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In particular, a can of tomato paste 
which fits in my hand like a roll of bills. 

Sojourners


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Not angels, but pale travelers
            through time, come back
Not to condemn or to reverse
            our narrow acts, 

But to remind us, by their soft
            disclosures, what
Is still to come.

A Shocking December Red


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I want to go back to Manderley and drag myself up the stairs at midnight. See myself. Pull my baby up through the water from the land of the dead.

Snowscapes from the Sackler Wing, part 5


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In my paradise 

there would be a lot of liquids and could I bask  
unabashed in the breathing  
hammock of myself as a kind of Sweden  

for unrequited fleeing.

A Place for All People


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It’s easy to imagine Day marching alongside those now promoting racial equality, the dignified treatment of immigrants, workers’ rights, pacifism, and income equity.

A Nun’s Prayer


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My God my God 

      why are you so far from     my groaning 

Letters, Music, Flesh: Calligraphy as Sacred Art Among Christians and Jews


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For the calligrapher, words are always flesh. 

If You Meet the Buddha


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The trouble with language is the language:  
its lack, its want, its suffering—all the fire 
I have worshipped morning and evening. 

In The Studio: Jordan Eagles


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People also often enter sacred spaces at a slower, quieter pace, with a sense of anticipatory contemplation. This can be ideal for reflecting on art and ideas.

Trench Coat


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Took far too long to know I had stopped living  
and begun wearing my life instead.   

And It Came to Pass in Those Days


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I hear these words in your voice no matter who says them, in the well-water smell of the basement, by the artificial tree you and she would one day put a sheet over, so you never had to take it down or put it up again.

A Fire in This House


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In our solemn conversations about the firemen, in our statements of unconditional loyalty and trust, I realize that maybe instead of the moral authority of God in our household, I have given Toby the firemen. Brave and noble, yes, but a shabby substitute for the Almighty.

Squeezed In


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Easter, I make myself space 
in a pew facing a pillar  
four feet wide, I’d say, gray,  
mottled, plastered countenance.

On Ronald


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I have hurt my father two times that I know of.

Pastoral with Wheat


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Everything close enough fades  

in the coming dark; what’s at a distance, 
gone.

A Conversation with Diane Glancy


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Diane Glancy is professor emerita at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she taught Native American literature and creative writing.She has published more than sixty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as screenplays and plays—and increasingly, as in her new book, Island of the Innocent: A Consideration of the Book of Job (Turtle Point, 2020),…

Duet


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The spaded earth spurts in fury: 
a geyser of yellow jackets torque  

from their lair.

Taboret


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When I hear my parents’ voices lilt with Midwestern shame, our pernicious lineage, I want to set the bench on fire or bury an axe head into it.

Some Trees, Too


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days like my lost eyelashes, 
just dry leaves curled there and here,  

The Eighth Sacrament


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Now you are a monotonousness of grace- 
light under my steps, the unseen seen.

Icons of Soul


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I found an unexpected resonance in D’Angelo’s low-fi, melancholy mood, articulated in the album Voodoo, which has mystified me for years. 

Diagramming the Live Oak


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Because we die, we all die, and the oak lives, 
those imagined rings like so many glasses 

Even from the Shore, Even upon Plains


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We step over the barbed wire into the pasture,
overtaken by another giddiness.

Winter Empties Her Pockets


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We will be the young tufts of spring. 
My shadow will lay itself down over yours, reader.
We will not cut ourselves open any longer.  

Three Essays


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How does this resound in my heart, Lord? Do you hear it? It’s the sound of my shovel hitting those aluminum markers.

Nightshade


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The orchard blooms, 

and strangers tend, in wooded plots (or tombs), 
blue nightshade, to the bitter end of gene. 

Gabriel


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I remember when those hands were furnaces burning in the hearts of celestial bodies. I watched the very dust fall to earth and become you.

the pattern is set, but devotion


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I too half-curled, half-clutched
in bedclothes, writing the light full
then fitful as it ascends into cloud drift,
warm snarls of will among fluid states

A Place for All People


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It’s easy to imagine Day marching alongside those now promoting racial equality, the dignified treatment of immigrants, workers’ rights, pacifism, and income equity.

Low Road to a High Place


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No thing made 
or unmade, or born or yet to be, can separate us from the Love 
that drew us forth from weave to know the weave and return to it. 

Rising with the Seas


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Noah and his family pretend not to see the children on the boat. Children, teenagers, some tiny, some large and hairy, a wild pack who slide through the debris tunnels or hide in the great room eleven cubits down. Who did they throw overboard to make room?

Solitude as Art


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Like the strange paradox of social distancing, where we step away from our neighbors in order to protect them, so the artist loves the world by retreating from it. The art of solitude is ultimately social.

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