Poem from Best American Poetry 2009


“YHWH is definitely a verb form. We can take comfort in the certain
knowledge that God is a verb, not a noun or an adjective.”
– The Gifts of the Jews, Thomas Cahill

God is the spray on your lip from the freshly-poured ginger ale.
No, God is the arrival on your lip of the spray. The arcing. The spree.

God is definitely not that weird sexuality of wild bird rehabilitators.
God is, instead, waves blown back hard from the shore. At night.

Perhaps he is the rumbling scaring done by the haunted freight train,
the shrill ghouls in the back cars climbing over each other to escape.

God is weequashing: The spearing of eels or fish from a canoe by torchlight.
God is the inventing of words like weequashing.

She is not the fire darkening down.
She is the goldfinch singing the whisper song.

And the birthing of a second child, to feel your body blooming.
To feel head, then shoulders, thighs then cord tumbling. To live. To life!

To give the initial downbeat to the tympanis. To cure mice by placing them in a cello.
To do whatever the scarecrow did with his brains. And to make that acrid or burned quality

of the smell of space. To crow, to fly, to gild and gnaw. To mean.
Shape, shear, smear and shine. Play and improvise. To last.

Left to Right, Tina Kelley, Susan Blackwell Ramsey, Molly Peacock, Martha Silano

Left to Right, Tina Kelley, Susan Blackwell Ramsey, Molly Peacock, Martha Silano


One response to this post.

  1. […] turn them into anything different than what they already were. One of these poems, “To Yahweh” by Tina Kelley, struck me because in it, Tina manages to address the astounding beauty of […]


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