by Angie Crea O’Neal

 

The Milky Way

 

“God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”
―Empedocles

 

Not only is marriage about bodies—
sublunary lands mapped
with hands, what lovers
pursue with Euclidean geometry.

More like galaxies,
dust and dark
curved by necessity,
black hole circling
somewhere in the middle
like a heart unbeating.

Yet, from this spot just
a swath of stars familiar as
his cotton shirt I’ve washed
a billion times, our mess an
infinity of prime numbers

I fold and unfolded,
fold again like paper
snowflakes.

A dusty mirror,
our ordinary little bedroom,
the road or bridge is

God somehow inside us.
Just as sunlight
is simplified religion.

Marriage, closer to fractals.
Like putting a mountain in
your pocket.


This is partly an erasure poem. Source material: “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis, Signature Classics, The Complete C.S. Lewis, pp. 128-129.


The Anniversary

Remember how we used to love?
The way our hearts were rough-hewn
and rabbeted together like the shiplap
on the barn out back, the one you
built by hand?

How we filled it long ago not with
living things, but all the stuff we
couldn’t hold—your grandmother’s
sideboard, boxes of china overflowing,
all kindling now in a vacant forest.

The yoke was never light,
but we plowed good ground,
cultivated a modest garden.

We live on idle acres now,
hearts prone to wander vine to vine
in an incomprehensible jungle.

Who can tell where the wilderness
begins or end these days? Declension
is our portion, atonement for our sins,
a kind of cosmic logic.

And what do they say about
how we unloved? How it fell apart
like loose boards until all became
unfettered beats into the wind,
almost like wings?

How the roof was first to go, and when
it went, how gracious was the sky,
home eclipsed by branches wild, so full
we no longer needed rooms to grow?


ANGIE CREA O’NEAL’S poems have appeared in Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought, Cumberland River Review, San Pedro River Review, Stirring: A Literary Collection, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, The Way Things Fall, was published by Anchor & Plume Press in 2017. She holds the Joan Alden Speidel Chair in English at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, where she lives with her daughters.


Photo: “Milky Way over Barn in Modoc County, California” by Beau Rogers