Kemmer Anderson, author of Songs of Bethlehem: Nativity Poems, taught for 40 years at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn.
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Meacham at St. Paul's Church, Chattanooga
I rub my hand across the stone font
Where Jon Meacham took on the water
Of baptism and signed on to the cross
In an olive oil signature made for words.
The empty sanctuary now quiet for prayer echoes
With last night’s lecture on the future of democracy.
Light pours through the stained glass window
With a narrative of Saul, struck down blind
Crossing the Jabbok
Unsure of my crossing, I stand and wait at the Jabbok
In a wrestling rhyme of rapids. The waters from the river
Rise around my fears and blur my eyes. I am uncertain
Where my footfall will land. My sandal slides turning on rocks.
I watch others cross ahead of me with obedience,
While I drop back to the crisis I find lurking
In the shadows of my soul. A drought-coward spirit
Dries up the will and burns through my identity
Destroying the brittle nature of my grip on this land
That waits on the other side of the river.
I am stalking through the darkness of my soul
For the person waiting beyond my dreams. The twin
Shadow of a birthright slips through my memory.
My father’s blessing evaporates in my mother’s maneuvers of facts.
My brain is a soup of deception: my mind is a sheep blind
Without a shepherd to open the gate. Unvoiced by silence,
I wait, unable to cross, paralyzed and unprepared without a prayer.
The void of doubt drifts into night where demons perch
In my dreams foaming at the ford of the river in my head.
Poetry: Mary of Nazareth 2015