(Drying Diapers)
by Dale Smith

DRYING DIAPERS AT the eco-laundr-o-mat. Mixed races make ready their Easter fabrics. Diapers spin, high heat. K naps back home. Outside cold drizzle passes through the saturated atmosphere. Sheets of glass stand behind me. Headline: “Chopper Down, Two Dead.” Sacrifices in Mesopotamia. Oil drips from cars in the parking lot. And nothing happens. We go on here, waiting. The sky’s grey light falls on a teen couple. They hold hands across the street, entering an ice cream shop. Today’s a celebration of a triumph over death. “To display Natures cruel holiness: the deceits of Natural Religion.” (Blake) The figure of Christ haunts the day. This late in the post-Christian epoch, you want to redeem His image just as his death would somehow give meaning to ours. But political and spiritual identity here is saturated with a meliorating meanness. “We reared mighty Stones: we danced naked around them: Thinking to bring Love into light of day, to Jerusalems shame.” (Blake, again). A yellow fluorescence penetrates the room. The black stone is hidden here. A spirit of vision is vanquished. Who am I to uproot love’s flower-rotten corpse? We are garlanded with dead things: deer guts, vulture wings, human ears. Christ has been sunk to the bottom of the sea where He decomposes among the seaweed. Or so I see Him now—hard stone His bed for an archaic after-life.


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