Midnight Graffitti

I have seen stained pores hold
soil ground into flesh
on hands that trip through hair,
trace strands of grass,
and bump against another.
So word--light--beginning
turned into flesh
is too crazy to believe.

A girl, newly fertile, walks in harsh country
stalking penumbra
to fling back the veil from the face of God.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch,
humankind stalls, flapping like grounded trout.
Few will believe the myth:
It is whispered, somewhere,
tucked between the wind,
grander forces wait with eternal patience
to move with the tides.

I have witnessed strong.
Like a hurricane.
Like earthquake.
Like nuclear bomb.
In the face of these, life hardly seems stronger.
So word--light--beginning
masked in graffiti for the blind...
this faith comes hard.

The girl pauses with a stirring,
presses warm hands to her belly.
She does not understand how
life grows out of nothing.
A passing man,
unsure of home,
considers his footprints in disbelief.
If this is not where he belongs,
where will he go?

Kae Penner-Howell lived in Chicago, Illinois, where she was a featured reader in the thriving poetry scene and lyricist and lead vocalist for the band Strange Fruit, when this poem appeared.

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Sojourners Magazine October 1992
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