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Jennifer Zolper

About this Christian Poet:
I am a graphic artist, a painter, and a poet. I have been published in The Penwood Review; Living By Faith, an anthology; and the Utmost Christian Writers' Gallery, where I am honored to share space with some of the best poets you can find anywhere. I live in a small house on a short street in the flat central valley of California, with my son, my computer, and a few tubes of paint.

Dry Faith

This ambivalence of my heart
is the African savanna.
It's the dry season: still and expansive.
Dull shapes shift in the periphery
like elephants, slow and gray,
reminding me there is other life.
Observation is enough now.

The binoculars are left behind,
jettisoned somewhere along the way.
I pretend they bounced out of the Jeep
during my tortuous drive
and blame it on the wild terrain.
But I remember: I flung them out.

I want to view the panorama with limited sight.
I choose impersonal dome of sky and
blanketing golden haze.
I don't want to see this much of life:
the muscled coil of predators,
the resigned eyes of prey.

The banyans, scattered like flung boulders
resting with heavy hunched shoulders
shelter old miracles I can no longer see.
Dendritic altar stones
each with a story of faith to tell.
If I answer their call to intimacy,
I could own my memories.

This distance comforts like a spell now,
A spiritual sleep potion.
For faith
(no—the need for it)
has kept me awake so many nights.
I want to sleep like the tigers:
Always forgetting.
Yesterday's blood in the grass does not haunt them.

But my spirit craves an anchor, not this lullaby.
It needs a reminder of truth
now more than ever on this arid plain.
There is not enough water in this season
for growing rebuttals to my disillusionment.

In the quiet I hear my boots
swishing over the grass of the veldt
toward a memory, a retelling of my own story.
I feel it lie down under my tread like a sacrifice
and sigh with knowing
as I close the distance.

Copyright©2004 by Jennifer Zolper