Week One

Poems for the first Sunday in Advent

The Gospel Truth Security Company
The Insomniac Keeps Watch
On Transformation (With Figs)



Year A: Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44

The Gospel Truth Security Company

We begin by seeking morning
in a world of night, then follow up with prayers
for peace within your walls. You don’t think
that’s enough? You want guns to chase
the needy from your threshold? Sorry,
we don’t work that way. This is so top-
of-the-line it’s over the line. Protection
redefined. Our blacksmith shop hammers
your locks into soup spoons. Our smelter
melts the barrels of semiautomatics and molds
the metal into tent poles. One weapon
can house an army, battalions of the homeless,
peacemakers reclaiming even the very
vocabulary of violence. Our guards
never sleep. When a stranger breaches your gate,
alarms raise the dead and the living
alike, chiming like a dinnerbell, kitchen timer shrill.
Those walls we mentioned?
They’re metaphorical. They’re everywhere,
and broken, and the peace you tried to hold
within is leaking through chinks in the stone.
No one knows when the thief is coming,
so we leave the table set all night.



Year B: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

The Insomniac Keeps Watch

The dog grows restless as day
intersects evening. He paces door
to window to door. Clouds obfuscate
sunset, despite its calculated hour.
I will not sleep—not with such a storm
closing in. Time to batten down
the garden. Latch the shutters
against the wind. Pray the maple
holds on to all its branches. Wait.


“I’m sorry, old friend,” I tell the dog
as I rouse him from the edge of forgetting.
At 1 a.m., a moment’s calm. Leashed
and hooded, we practice discerning
among the winds. Will the rustling
arrival of angels feel like this upward
swelling, sky cloistering us in something
close to revelation? Stoplights begin
their chain reaction, a yellow pulse
pulling west toward town,
mimic of stars, an earthbound
luminosity too dim to guide us.


Close to dawn, the television
is infomercials and weather maps. A product
for every ailment. A model for predicting
every natural destruction. But what
of the supernatural? I consider
the meteorologist, whose job it is to know
both the day and the hour of every
atmospheric phenomenon. Can a scale
that tracks the wind and its trajectory
interpret beyond the ionosphere, discern
cirrocumulus from seraphimic? The man
at the map tells us the moment, accurate
within minutes, that the thunderstorm
will strike. When it will cease.
The dog circles once, twice, three times.



Year C: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36

On Transformation (With Figs)

Wasps stream from the fig in an endless

ribbon. The insects hatched in the fruit’s hidden

garden, hundreds of tiny flowers lining the fig’s


inner wall. It’s a realm accessible through one

small passageway, wasp-sized, and only

the wasps know it. Once they’ve emerged,


they can’t turn back. Each wasp will find

another fruit to enter, a place to lay her eggs.

She knows which tree is hers, each species


of wasp drawn, intrinsically, to its own species of tree.

A symbiosis 80 million years in the making

looks like infestation, the fruit a ruin,


the tree past hope. But it’s how things survive.

It’s how the wasp perpetuates her species. It’s how

she pollinates each tiny fig flower, spreading


the microscopic code the fruit needs to set seed,

the tree’s next incarnation, and how the fig, once the wasps

depart, swells and ripens into sweet food for something else.


One thought on “Week One

  1. of these three my favorite is Wasps. But 1.2 is Gospel Truth Security and Insomniac. I was going to comment on your facenbook photo as you grow in stature as a poet you grow ever lovelier on the outside as well. The maturity of your voice is maturing your beauty. Elizabeth


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