MICHAEL YOST is a teacher, freelance essayist and poet. He lives in rural New Hampshire with his wife and two sons.
From the stench of rotting hide,
From the hot and muscled weight of death,
From the hunter’s tawny jaw,
From the ancient eater’s mottled mouth,
Comes wealth of peace;
Comes a city from the open side,
Comes the hum of honeyed breath,
Comes the transformation of the law,
Comes the manna in the drouth,
From all decease.
At Saint So-and-So’s
Highway traffic scores and hums
Beneath the Sabbath hymnody.
Laymen in tropic shirtsleeves come
Their wives in wireless fidelity arrayed.
The seating is precise, the manners casual.
Grins and handshakes are exchanged
Inside the sanctuary gate as usual.
Outside, Escalades and Honda Pilots range.
The Victim crouches on his cross an hour,
Tired as an aging wall-flower,
Who will not speak to the rotarians
Any more than Pharisees or Arians.
He turns with an embarrassed groan
Towards the altar, with its flower pots
And the altar boys, their hair well combed
Whose sagging bodies tell their wandering thoughts.
Soon these will return to the world they know;
Soon ever and again they will return
To low-calorie beer, boutiques, and late night shows,
To spread-sheets, focus-groups, and therapists in turn.
They will leave the cobwebbed well
And wander through the desert’s stations
For gross are the hearts of the nations
And uncultivated is the soil.
Caravaggio Catching Fireflies
As the sunlight fades and dies, Caravaggio catches fireflies
amid chiaroscuro, and the studio light;
With pestle reforms fire into night
Cups the light, turns alchemist, and drinks
Converting it to darkness as the daylight sinks.
MICHAEL YOST is an essayist and poet living in rural New Hampshire with his wife and children. His essays and poems can be read at Crisis Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review and Hearth and Field, as well as at his website, poetryofmichaelyost.com.