I like it dark, deep enough to sink
into dark, thick curtains drawn for bed,
dark like a womb where I stretch,
turn, dark as chocolate bark in a tin box.
At 3 a.m., a train sings. I wake
to a major chord, chorus of horns,
choir of voices rising over the farms.
Under clouds, the sea hangs in shadow,
hurling streaks of white foam out of midnight
onto sand. Above clouds, a plane slides forward
through starlessness. In the barn, dark eyes
of horses gleam wet and roll, they mutter
and heave against the stalls, thump, rustle,
breathe dark, dark night, and sleep.
I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words which people have successfully addressed to God without their getting killed.
step into place shoeless flesh to floor
in peril power
remove burse unveil chalice lift square white pall and silver paten with a single host set all upon the corporal
unshroud the corpus
to speak along a dangerous edge of the dark knife set a line here balance on brink
to dare (lift up your hearts)
describe deadly voltages like symbols (we lift them up unto the Lord)
and love means maybe they pray
all ancients drew borders around ineffability
instead of naming gods name the place
you meet them corral contain holiness use
boundary stones altar rails iconostases
designate a space to enter and not die
(sanctuary call it sanctuary)
Theophany on Emily Lake Road
I want one. Of Biblical proportions—
angels unfurl three sets of Technicolor
wings, volcanic voices roar
BE NOT AFRAID.
I want to be afraid
by the mystery—
crying “Woe! Woe!”
So I climb this hill like Sinai
with a gray gravel flank
to empty flat straight long
no sign no sound nor
susurration of wings—
just a stone, solid enough
round ochre dull as a pillow,
a feather undusted
shows black white blue.
A truck roars past in a cloud
pours dust upon my head.
The radio sings out
“Whoa, whoa, baby. Whoa, whoa.”
Contemplative Practice: Most days, I spend half an hour or so in "quiet time" in my study, with the dog on the sofa beside me. I light a candle, say a prayer, then, depending on the season and the practice I feel I need to stand within, I either meditate, study scripture, or pray the daily office of Morning Prayer. But my spirit is also deeply fed by sitting in nature in silence, finding a "sit spot" and simply spending some time listening, looking, and be-ing in the midst of God's creation.
Brief Bio: Kit Carlson is an Episcopal priest and a life-long writer with work appearing in publications as diverse as Seventeen Magazine and Anglican Theological Review. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and has recently been published in Ponder Review, Bending Genres, and DaCunha. She is author of Speaking Our Faith (Church Publishing, 2018). She lives in East Lansing, Michigan, with her husband Wendell, and Lola, a nervous rescue dog.
More on Kit Carlson's work can be found on our Links page.