If I Could Tell You, I Would
Please don’t ask me where to find him, for locations of fire and cloud pillar
and gap-mouthed riverbeds. Would you believe me
anyway? What if I said look at my hands, the callouses on my fingertips
from sliding them across the pages of my red leatherbound Bible, would you say
God was there? Beneath my palm centuries pass, the Jordan is crossed,
I feel the cartography of milk and honey, consult prophets, sit in the shade
of the Deborah tree, listen at the cavemouth of Horeb wrapped snug in my mantle.
But I learned the long way round, don’t bother with the obvious, revelation
has a mischievous side. Sometimes, I find Him stretched around the Word itself,
in the gilt edge of the page—the sliverdoor
into the Holy of Holies and the only way through is to allow
myself to be drawn into God’s glorylungs where I am held as eternal
ether and momentary breath. There, with a rope tied around one foot,
I intensify, electric and alive, dead
and revived with the flexion of God’s diaphragm that makes room
for me beneath his ribs—know myself formed from bloodclay
swept up from beneath the mercy seat. Then hand over hand
I pull myself like one stunned and stumbling to the surface, return
to the between of Word and world where the compass spins in all directions
and the best I can say is, choose your path and go.
“If I Could Tell You, I Would,” read by Nadine Ellsworth-Moran.
Nadine Ellsworth-Moran serves in ministry in Georgia. She is fascinated by the stories unfolding all around her and seeks to bring everyone into conversation around a common table. Her work has appeared in Interpretation, Ekstasis, Emrys, Structo, and Kakalak, among others. She lives with her husband and three unrepentant cats.
Artwork: “Hand study with bible” by Albrecht Durer, 1506. Public Domain.