Summer 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 3 Poetry |

Reading the Not-Written

agrapha (not written): the sayings of Jesus not in the Bible i. A papyrus leaf from the desert trash heap's mutilated oracle, with one word left there of some outspired holy utterance: Poverty, saith the moth-eaten Saying. ii. By what schema has the rhapsode stitched together the song & the agrapha been stricken from the Gospel & left wandering from lips to unhallowed lips, out of papyrus rips, the no-longer-sanctified places where worms ate through the scroll just where Christ opened his mouth to speak or wrote into the dirt       You have received mercy [ . . . ] become they wrote [ . . .] book, as[ . . . ] to you again [ . . . ] and just as they [ . . . ] hear and [ . . . ] they [ . . . ] understand. Do you not desire, then, to be filled? iii. & so say the doubted Sayings: A man is unapproved, if he be untempted. & so says the known- to-be-corrupted text: There is nothing buried which shall not be known.

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