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No. 4 & 5

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James Rioux  
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Faith

After Kierkegaard
 

How the slow hooves of the ass must have seemed
to Isaac, in some way, like destinyís gavels 
against the stones, the morning sun mounting 
Moriahís high hills. . . Imagine if you can 
how their deliberate gestures flowed forward 
into that absurdity: a circle of stones 
set down in the dirt, sacrificial fire kindled 
and stoked.  Roped down upon the pyre, could the boy 
have known the strange shape faith had taken? 
And what if his fatherís hand held high in the air, 
the blade flashing, had fallen helplessly 
by his side?  Surely, he would have known a kind 
of love, and yet his God required a body
abandoned to an invisible restraint.
 

Egret

Origami angel descending among cattailsó
Iíve seen herons here before, but not this:
her thin neck a ribbon held in a trance, 
long yellow beak jabbing at the rippled dark, 
rising with a flash of wriggling silver.   
As if this were not enough, Iíve begun 
to rehearse the impossible, how I might say 
just what Iíve seen. . . And I think of Thomas, 
how he alone requires fingers thrust 
into the wounds of his risen friend
and savior.  And yet I imagine 
his notorious doubt more like hope, hope 
he might reach through the flesh of Christ
to clutch fistfuls of the invisible.
 

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