God’s Presence in Your Life?

Who? Whoever it is I’ve shrugged shirked
cringed avoided
too big for me

Not fear, not friendship

Tolerant mutual avoidance

Polite refusal to mention certain arrangements:
            my own tendencies

So many subjects to avoid,
            and not much room for conversation,
            a lot of conversation killers,

though sometimes thoughts align
                        to a thank you
                        to a howdy-do



Your Relationship with God?


Father / cipher
                        factor in an equation beyond my grasp.

The president of the presidents

Silence of things when they suddenly appear

A generosity maybe

Energy left over from brute mechanics

Sometimes in Scripture starkly human especially
                        when I see the stretched body in a tree

A figure latent in all landscapes



Parts of You That Need to Be Put to Death?

            Fishy, compromising, mealy-mouthed...

Do you believe a word of this?
Don’t trust a word of this.

Is this what you want?

Tell me what you want,


                        Reader you.

And grant me
            grant me please

            that I am earnest,

            tone deaf but



As the Angel of the Lord Commanded Joseph

Trees along the Taconic sheathed in ice,
ordinary from a distance then at a certain angle

on fire, electric in light

that is all in the angle, the hour, the slant,
a sight soon gone in the ongoing

            So Joseph hears the angel quote Isaiah—
            Behold: the virgin, etc.—

            and decides the child
           will be Emmanuel.

            He’s taking Scripture
            in a surprising direction,

            but the angel was the permission,
            the angle, the instruction:


These poems were written in response to the daily readings from Meeting Christ in Prayer.

Elizabeth Poreba is a retired New York City high-school English teacher. Her poems have appeared in Commonweal and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion among other journals. Wipf and Stock has published two collections of her work, Vexed and Self Help: A Guide for the Retiring. Her latest chapbook, New Lebanon, is available for advanced order at finishinglinepress.org. More of her work can be found at elizabethporeba.com.

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Published in the 2012-05-04 issue: View Contents
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