Two Poems

by Judy Loest

Age of Enlightenment

When the man in our dream group
Said he found God in Wal-Mart
In plumbing, I could see it clearly:
The poor mortal struck dumb
Like Isaiah in the temple, blinded
By light in the unholy aisles
Of modern alchemy, could see him fall
To his knees among the white bones
Of ceramic knobs and PVC pipe
Like Ezekiel in the desert.

It was a scene right out
Of the Old Testament study book
My mother bought in 1952
From a traveling salesman,
Its black and white engravings
Of Bible stories as apocalyptic
As life in those Virginia mountains,
When Hell was as close as a wild mushroom
We called the Devil’s snuff box,
When the sky contained Heaven.


In this, too, a personal failing,
No deity to blame for the dead
Mourning dove on the concrete,
Its head twisted into its chest
Like a grotesque after flying
Into a wall of glass, leaving
Somewhere a mate, a nest,
The green world and us poor
Mortals without mystery, without hope,
My hand upon the stilled breast
Losing some of its own warmth.