Called to Lapse
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
–Mark 9: 24
Let us turn now to the passages on Unbelieving:
502.1 through 503.5 in this marred
thesaurus, long half-de-spined, backcoverless, to its much-used
vocabularium of apostasy and o ye of little faith.
I admit, Lord, I have told these words like a rosary.
Tongued delicately the syllables of dubiety and qualm.
Proclaimed by heart the verses and chapters
of set no store by and undeludable.
Often I have drowsed on the chill wet
crabgrasses of Gethsemene, while Judas stirred
and some carpenter rose before dawn to fulfill
an urgent new order for a cross.
Often I’ve half-heard through some inchoate dream your
Sleepest thou? Couldest thou not watch with me one hour?
My dog Beauregard walked each day the length of his long untangleable tether:
left yard azalea, sidewalk-border to stone bench, backyard thorn bush.
When once I forgot to attach his collar
he still paced that ropeline’s
Credo of semicircle: backyard thorn bush, sidewalk-edge to stone bench, left yard piss-soaked
litter of pink azalea blooms.
I have nulled-and-voided, Lord. I have mis-
and de- and over- believed.
Half-prayed to ‘Oumuamua,
not-comet not-asteroid not
anything we know,
halo-less, coma-less, elongated and tumbling
here out of Lyra constellation,
whose name means a messenger
from afar, arriving first
whose ‘orbital eccentricity’ exceeds
our sun’s escape velocity.
Eccentric strayer: glottal
stop’s half-choke be
the incipient of thy name.
In this particular
I have elapsed as time has,
24 frames a second.
31 million seconds a year.
In this particular passage through time, I have
shaken my head at You
at each turn, saying, No. I pass. I pass. I pass.
at any time to stray.
Lord, I have harbored my doubt
as in: moored there.
Clove hitch, taut tether, cleat.
Onamata: Greek for names. “The word comes
to designate language as such,”
“the audible icons of the divine”
says the Dictionary of Spiritual Terms
I’ve been Lent-praying-through.
Onamata, domiciles of the
If words were to lapse, if names were.
Announce themselves and quick-vanish, like ‘Oumuamua.
Messenger from Afar, arrive first.
Your name, Lord, Your onoma, from the unburnt scrub bush: I AM THAT I AM.
Say unto them, I AM is my name.
Ehyeh asher ehyeh. Ash at its unburnt core.
To be in Time is called
in time-lapse, Lord, one frame a second,
and watch me in 24 frame-speed, slow-filmed then sped
and lapsed clean out of Time.
In this particular
around the front yard
on Summit Avenue, Macon,
in memory’s jerking time-lapse credendum I stand
hard-of-belief and tugging
at a tether I’m untethered-from,
crabgrassy edges of Doubt’s
thin shadow as it passes and I’m
barely by its ragged hem.
I would touch it again, I believe (Thou: help) I believe.