header
River
Cameron Alexander Lawrence (bio)

You could call it a church, but it’s more womb than temple,
a home for weary men and women to step from the world

into a structure built to house otherness. Where children
suffer the basement classrooms fumigated by coffee,

and cans of lemon disinfectant breathe over a Pentecost of toys.
A home where the people receive what is believed

to be the fist of the Holy Spirit delivered square
onto the forehead, oh, the prayer, the prayer. A home,

no less, because the familiar has made of itself a holiness,
a place easy enough to forget the Lord was a baby

who became a boy who became a man who became a river.
An untameable body our hands can’t grasp. An abundance

one fears, this endless flowing, the subject of many books,
of much studying from beyond his chiggered banks. Men

drawing schematics and offering dissertations on potamology,
the properties of water and, finally, the sea that receives all

—explanations spilling from the halls, where children
learn to down a drinkless drink, a hermeneutic, or whatever

name men soon will think to give what they have ceased
to swim within. But God, that river: both water and fire

burning up the hell we put ourselves and neighbor through.
Dear God—who can say how it is, what it is to fall

into the rush of your black rapids and be swept away?

Copyright © 2016 | Valparaiso University | Privacy Policy
rose