February 11, 2015

Kate Peper

SAVED

My husband and I have Space Bagged our genitalia—
dried kelp bulbs and cowrie shells—
and hung them in the spare bedroom closet.
At Christmas, I nudge them aside
to get to the egg carton of tiny glass:
an angel, lamb, stars.

Cleaning the junk drawer
I tell him, There’s a Swedish woman
who’s working on breaking
the human body down into plant food.
Honey, that’s what I want
when I die.

As a Jew, he replies, I believe
our bodies must not be defiled,
and writes Buy Burial Plots on the whiteboard.
Well, I say, dumping out old Tupperware,
as a Christian, we’re already dust.
God will remold me after I die.

We climb the stairs to our bedroom
and pull the eiderdown to our chins.
There are no crashing waves here.
The tide has receded, just dusting
our lips with salt.
Slowly, his hand smoothes my hair.
This is what we have, really:
there’s nothing to be saved.

from Rattle #45, Fall 2014
Tribute to Poets of Faith

[download audio]

__________

Kate Peper: “Though I was raised Lutheran, I didn’t jump into Christianity until a few years ago. My faith is growing daily in small but significant increments: Every time I pray and ask for help—even if it’s to write a poem—I receive God’s grace and am blessed with humility and strength, which in turn strengthens my faith. In the past four years I’ve seen how my painting and poetry have been quietly inspired by this new sense of looking at the world.” (website)

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