Two Poems

by Jeanie Thompson

Considering the Creation

Touch it, thought the black unformed,
though thought is a crude approximation of how

it moved. Long to . . . love it, the formless-
formed murmured. Shape into light

was an urge loosening from somewhere,
shape into night and day oozed next, and

next, and next. Then birdsong coalesced
and eyelash turned worlds to storm, and golden,

and heights, flight. At the wedding feast,
Your first thought filled the water jugs with good wine,

even as You knew nail, the stone’s cool shelter,
and later, their staggering joy. Alone among men,

You knew how the unformed furled itself toward us.
Red stain upon red stain, the magnetic pull, the restoration.

First Dream of the River

There is a river in Alabama I remember—
       on these rocks, my feet found balance,
with her hand steadying me to that current,
       the cold river’s vast muscle
took me this way and that. Sun on my face
       and in my hair, lifted the mud’s
ancient odor to my face, said move with me.

I cannot return there now. In the garden of my home place
       I had groped without self, without Helen, only need
and want, an unformed thing. When she dragged me to
       the pump and poured w-a-t-e-r into my impatient hand,
my mind cracked open like a bird’s egg. This shattering
       I try to tell—but you can never know. There was a pull
of self diving into that language current
       I couldn’t know then. Still, my feet steadied
on bare rock where others had stood,
       cast their eyes to the quickening sky,
knew the pull of a river’s rich life. How would it be possible
       to return there, the river whispering in my palm
the syllables over and over, you are Helen, of this Earth,
       a shaken fragrance lives in your dream of home.