Poem | Hamden, CT, October

Remarkable, a wave so sharp and sheer—

It is metal—hear it rattle, like a logger’s gear.


See how it shines on leaves as dull as ash,

And rusted wires of roots like buried trash.


It stops me, takes my elbow in its hand,

And sniffs my hair, and eyes my wedding band.


It asks, “Where do you live? Why don’t you show me?

You can’t have been here long, or else you’d know me.”


I cannot speak or move: I recognize

My soft and warm and cool house in its eyes,


And now I pray that God, when roof and walls

Are gone, spares me from everything that falls,


Lets sheets and blankets lie in mold down there,

While I sleep cleanly, naked in midair.


But I’m a fool. His Judgment is no part

Of the imagination of my heart,


But part of Grace—to which I come the way

Of those most richly in this demon’s pay.


About the Author

Sarah Ruden is a poet, essayist, and translator, and a visiting scholar at Brown University. She is the author of Paul among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time, and her new translation of Augustine’s Confessions is forthcoming from Penguin/Random House.

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