Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

–John Updike


How long must I wait here
for cosmic dust to accumulate
on me like snow upon the gate?
If I shiver…will I need to stand
longer or if I yawn…will it be
as if I’d never stood still at all.
Can you even see
cosmic dust as it falls from space,
pulled to the earth at a rate
I am powerless to hurry?
And if I remember correctly…
it was in deep, dim midwinter
when my grandmother would paint
her garden. Squeezing out titanium
white to tickle the dark bellies
of eggplants nesting under lolling
green vines full of blushing tomatoes,
flanked by bushy rows of carrot tops.
I never saw what she saw (her still life)
in our barren back lot, streaked with snow
and tanned grasses bent southward,
even on the calmest of days.
Still standing, my hands cupped up —
craters for catching what no
one can see…and yet this dust,
this weight is lightness, it is
buoyance of sight. And when,
when shall I go in?
When the warbler whispers,
“Good night,”
I will lay down
under all that blankets me,
and rest.
Have I wasted my day?
what did you do?

-Steve Baliko, published in Communique