These Hands, If Not Gods - Natlie Diaz

Sainte Genevieve - Kiki Smith

Haven’t they moved like rivers—
like Glory, like light—
over the seven days of your body?

And wasn’t that good?
Them at your hips—

isn’t this what God felt when he pressed together
the first Beloved: Everything.
Fever. Vapor. Atman. Pulsus. Finally,
a sin worth hurting for. Finally, a sweet, a
You are mine.

It is hard not to have faith in this:
from the blue-brown clay of night
these two potters crushed and smoothed you
into being—grind, then curve—built your form up—

atlas of bone, fields of muscle,
one breast a fig tree, the other a nightingale,
both Morning and Evening.

O, the beautiful making they do—
of trigger and carve, suffering and stars—

Aren’t they, too, the dark carpenters
of your small church? Have they not burned
on the altar of your belly, eaten the bread
of your thighs, broke you to wine, to ichor,
to nectareous feast?

Haven’t they riveted your wrists, haven’t they
had you at your knees?

And when these hands touched your throat,
showed you how to take the apple and the rib,
how to slip a thumb into your mouth and taste it all,
didn’t you sing out their ninety-nine names—

Zahir, Aleph, Hands-time-seven,
Sphinx, Leonids, locomotura,
Rubidium, August, and September—
And when you cried out, O, Prometheans,
didn’t they bring fire?

These hands, if not gods, then why
when you have come to me, and I have returned you
to that from which you came—bright mud, mineral-salt—
why then do you whisper O, my Hecatonchire. My Centimani.
My hundred-handed one?

I wonder what my own dark carpenters, bulders of my small church, think of their creation. And further, who is the hundred-handed one who will overthrow them?

from People Close to You - Crystal Williams

Original Jenny Mendes - Set of Ceramic Sculpted - Two Heads Salt and Pepper Shakers

Two Heads - Jenny Mendes

She asks if she can sit on the bench &; it is that kind of day in Santa Monica, slow & gentle so that when she sits, properly, like a teacher or the pudgy mother of a girl named Marilyn, in unison you raise your round faces. The wind hefts the voices of your deadlings. They are serious &; sorrowful women, full of warnings, but today seem content to let you be, saying only, Child, be thankful, open your chest, that great cavern, to our other sister. & so you watch the sea.

Who knows what the woman beside you hears: there are so many languages in the world & your tongue is tied to this one. So you sip iced tea &; lean a bit forward into them, your gone women, your sages, who seem to be stroking your head. You begin to imagine the ocean floor as a cup, the pouty lips of God, the soft foam, the salt as if food, tasting sweet &; clear.

I heard Williams read at a writing conference years ago and was so moved I fled the auditorium before the lights came up so that no one would see me weep - as in the first stage of the ugly cry. 

If she comes to your town, go hear her read. Bring tissues. And sunglasses.