Stone

A Symposium

Poem

Adam
     In Eden I hardly noticed rocks—
     the parted stream, the occasional stumble.
     But outside I collected them,
     named them like beasts,
     trusted them like bones.
     In spring I piled them
     waist high,
     wondering at night
     what stone across the fields
     waited to be scrubbed
     and chiseled
     with my name.

Moses
     God said, tell this boulder
     to become a spigot.
     But I kept stone silent,
     my tongue stiff as a tablet
     from all the hardness of hearts
     and the seasons of death by stone.
     For that God took me
     as I sat on a cliff,
     remembering aprons
     full of manna,
     imagining smooth cakes
     in rivers of honey
     and running milk.

Satan
     Stub your tongue
     on stale clay.
     Break the crust
     and let the shards
     settle in your own dark well.
     You will pray for bread,
     but expect stone.

Jared’s Brother
     Clean rocks the size of figs
     heaped in my cupped hands
     became portals of light
     even the sea could not quench.
     Geology did not teach me this;
     it is only a prism,
     a rainbow of adjectives:
     igneous
     sedimentary
     metamorphic.
     But the soul of
     every rock is a lamp,
     a tongue of flame
     that speaks to the heart.
     When I found that fire
    I learned the hard truth:
     show God a rock and he
     shows you himself.

Joseph Smith
     Because my father’s meadows
     were full of them
     I had to rake all day,
     combing the soil clean,
     my hatfuls of pebbles
     spilling like seeds
     across the path.
     Small wonder
     I have seen
     so much
     in stones.

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