Jan/Feb 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 1 Poetry |

The Work of the Carvers

The warriors, the knights, the Old Testament figures— all were meant to be seen at a distance. Yet here is every rivet in their armor, here are their belt buckles and belt loops and buttons, here are their careful knuckled fingers. The carvers couldn’t have known that human eyes would ever see their work up close; this precision, this integrity, was all for God. The truth was thought to matter, and it weathered everything, the wreck and the centuries on the seabed without the slightest hope of resurrection. See these grotesque heads, these mermaids, the king of Sweden as a child. See, too, the way the wood has worn, these shadowy peasants, the dim gods and angels, the many figures clutching things so old and broken that we can no longer know what they were or what made the prophets hold on to them so tightly.

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The Other Joan

By Joan Wickersham

The warriors, the knights, the Old Testament figures— all were meant to be seen at a distance. Yet here is every rivet in their armor, here are their belt buckles […]

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