"Inclement Sonnet" by Susanna Childress
Tell me snow is falling on the willows now, fat, full, unhurried,
for our bald neighbor-boy sleeps, his dark body beneath
a blanket knit brilliantly blue, his body wilted with
neuroblastoma. Here on the couch, Emmy holds his head
while I wonder at what's sent from above, what we'd believe
drifts down during these months of ice, so far north we need
Easter to end winter for us--not Eostre, Teutonic myth,
vernal equinox; not eggs, red-iris bunnies beribboned
sweets. Tell me what comes next: tires spinning, marrow
aspirating, gladiolus whispering when, when, Wednesday
ashing our brows and, for each, some coruscating stretch, most
Fridays not so good after all. Last week he told his mum, I get a new
body if I go to heaven. Tell me it's coming soon, Pascha* Sunday,
that, as they lift, our arms will ache, will awaken, with all we've lost.
You free us
from the dread of death,
and make this life a door.
You grant our very flesh
a fallow season,
then gather all
at the last horn's blast.
You sow the earth
with these our bodies,
shaped by Your own hand.
the harvest in,
transforming death into
all defect into beauty.
--Macrina the Younger (adapted by Scott Cairns)