The Bright and Morning Star1

by Alicia Cole

After the painting “Beloved” by Ray Caesar

15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers
and the immoral persons and the murderers
and the idolaters, and everyone who loves
and practices lying.

Tentacled wonder
from the depths of the hydran field.
Wriggling, never still; oh, Love
who lives in the heavens, thank you
for such a gift.

Inside: my bending weight
over the bassinette, his tentacular joy.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify
to you these things for the churches. I am
the root and the descendant of David,
the bright morning star.”

Intertentacular, the orbits of aprocyphon
and reportage.  The living saint
on the corner, murmuring crepe-paper
flowers from his sleeves,
begs to board with us.

Pater eius: my husband’s mustached frown,
tentacles writhing through his fingers.

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let the one who hears say, “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come;
let the one who wishes
take the water of life without cost.

Awash in light, the singular light of gnosis:
this child, unique and luminous starform.
Many come to visit us.  We are “in the habit
of meeting on a certain fixed day”2.

Ante lumen: singing our hymns;
subtentacular, the son rattling along.


1. 22 Rev. 15-17 New American Standard Bible.
2. Pliny, Letters, transl. by William Melmoth, rev. by W.M.L. Hutchinson 
   (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1935), vol. II, X:96, cited in Habermas, The Historical Jesus, 199.

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