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Romanian Orthodox Choir

By Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska Poetry

This chasm. Quite simply, the abyss. Gale in a sultry church. Out of the dark the voices of seraphim. A beauty impossible to bear. A theology of opposites: in Christmas hymns this sorrow like a lidless coffin. Humble, the unknown soloist folds his hands and bows his head in gratitude for the applause. Suddenly we’re…

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Merton Listens to the Requiem

By Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska Poetry

The bow drops. The baton slips from a hand. Can one conduct trees? In the Lacrimosa the violins rush to set up tall trunks in an autumn wood. In the chancel amber leaves flicker. Death descends from the pulpit, a traveling peddler in rented garb. The church cracks open like a jewel case. A vaulting…

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Lamentation to Move Jonathan

By Adélia Prado Poetry

Are diamonds indestructible? My love is more. Is the sea immense? My love is greater, more beautiful unadorned than a field of flowers. Sadder than death, more despondent than a wave beating the cliff, tougher than the rock. My love loves and knows nothing more than that it loves. ⋅ Translated from the Portuguese by…

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Daughter of the Ancient Law

By Adélia Prado Poetry

God does not give me peace. God is my goad. He bites my heel like a snake, makes himself verb, meat, glass shard, stone against which my head bleeds. I cannot rest in this love. I cannot sleep in the light of this eye fixed on me. I want to return to my mother’s womb,…

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The Girl and the Fruit

By Adélia Prado Poetry

One day, picking guavas with the girl, she lowered the branch and said to the air —unaware that she was teaching me— Guava is a blessed fruit. Her movement, her illuminated face agitated the dust and spirit in the air: The Kingdom is within us; God dwells in us. There is no escaping the hunger…

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The Scar

By Adélia Prado Poetry

The theologians all err when they describe God in their treatises. You sharpen me until I could have made that irreparable cut. God will be born again to rescue me. Kill me, Jonathan, with your knife. Free me from the captivity of time. I want to understand your nails; the plan is not fixed, your…

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Earthquake

By Luke Johnson Poetry

In Nepal, five thousand are dead and the rest are afraid to return to the house of the next tremor. A continent away, Tom finds objects to hold to quiet the tremors in his hands. Men are pulled from buildings five days underneath them, still breathing. The easiest way to achieve rescue is to cry…

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Tom as a Series of Declaratives

By Luke Johnson Poetry

Religion is a gesture of overt metaphor. Literature mostly accidental metaphors the writer meant as gestures. Moments presupposed to be meaningful rarely are. Attention is the fourth wheel on a grocery cart, where the grocery cart is your mind and attention the one wheel not always touching, but it can swivel in its bearings and…

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The Baptism of Sister Arlene Anderson

By Marilyn Abildskov Short Story

BETWEEN SLEEP AND WHAT FOLLOWS sleep, she pushes against water, gasping for air. It’s not until she wakes—at the edge of daylight—that her mind registers two thoughts simultaneously: that her knees ache, that Albert is still dead. On this, a Sunday morning, a third thought follows as she begins moving her legs to the edge of…

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Joshua

By Torgny Lindgren Short Story

JOSHUA WAS THE MOST corpulent man of his people. He would eat anything and everything edible that he laid eyes on: grasshoppers, fruit, eggs, meat, whether raw or cooked, plants and roots and ants; he was always chewing something. He would even devour bones and seedpods, since his eating knew no bounds. His corpulence was not…

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