Fathom Mag

The Conversation

Published on:
December 1, 2022
Read time:
2 min.
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Maybe we talk too much. 
Maybe God no longer enters
the conversation; maybe  
it is as though writing the books—
66, unless you include 
nature—was enough. The author, 
a recluse hearing our interpretations,
our tiring and local exegeses, 
as though watching a repeating parade, 
is done now, has left this 
millennia midrash of Q and A. 

Of course the silence cuts both ways,  
and of course it allows being taken
on other’s terms; how, why God would
do this while knowing it takes us too much
concentration to avoid the fear that 
we are addressing
a toddler (we think most people
are) or a deaf old person dreaming 
of when the world was young. Anyway
I still pray, when I pray, 
too loudly, can’t say I fault 
those who think God a force. 

Could it be 
we haven’t,
as a matter of first principles, 
asked about the chatter, asked 
about the manner of 
asking not in the usual
wind parting waters, 
blood on a door frame, broken bread, or 
wine spilled, or somewhere a rock left 
on a long sloping hillside 
generations ago 
for someone chosen to read?  

Outside of our 
usual arguments over the usual 
suspects, it is that we know: A silent visitor appeared, 
visualized for countless breathless
minutes in a sketch artist’s rendering 
from those who told, in
several languages and races, and caught in the act, 
a feeding, an act shaping space 
temporary as a feeling, permanent as hunger.

Thomas Allbaugh
Thomas Allbaugh's work has appeared in a number of publications, including Relief, River Heron Review, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, and others. He has published a novel, Apocalypse TV; a collection of short stories, titled Subtle Man Loses His Day Job and Other Stories; and a chapbook of poems, titled The View from January. He has taught writing at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California since 2001.

 Cover image by Mike Labrum.

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