she timbers her faith with cedar

she timbers her faith with cedar

by Nancy Chen Long

“The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars . The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.” -Psalm 29

witness her hands fretted with splinters

cottonwood pollen falling

from her lashes like a nuisance

rain. poison-oak

spokes once anchored her

doppelgangered heart to the pedestrian

gods of a stranger’s ancestors.

poppied rituals. terracotta temples.

she mistook their gangly bones

to be arrows in a quiver.

but like spectral drops of water,

their lexicons evaporated,

leaving babble, salt, silt. notice

from such tumbleweed vernacular

sprouts her own homiletic seedlings:

broadleaf, conifer, coral. she authors

her own scaldwood of proverbs.

today, each winter nightmare becomes her.

a dead promise resurrected—

she has named herself

after her silenced father’s dead mother.

half-sister to the moon,

umber-colored and amber-foamed,

she’s steeped in tannins

leached from swamps of cedar.

-refers to the words “nightmare,” “fall,” “colored,” “my name,” “salts,” “write,” and “still” in Dear Dad by Rose Auslander

(This poem is a remix of original work with individual words that have been sampled from poems in CORDITE 33.1: THE REMIXES, which allows reuse of its publication through the Creative Commons. The following poems were sampled: “Simply by Sailing in a New Direction,” “You saw me first Isabella,” “Doppelgänger,” “Garden Piece,” “Beautiful,” “inadequate stovetop,” “Kerb side collection,” “apropos,” “Dogs in Space,” “Ways of the Mind as Subject 46-60,” “Just Lexicons,” “Litany,” “Loki,”and “The Walker.””)

  1. Brilliantly worded. Bravo

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