A new poem by Jeremy Nathan Marks

5

Our Father

Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Fathers care. (Matthew 10:29)

 

Recently I dreamed that I was standing on the shore of an Arctic island. One man alone among a nesting flock of Great Auks, the last of their kind.

 

On an ocean, the color of slate, a ship with a wooden mast appeared. The captain called for boats that went to shore where his sailors, in one fell swoop, killed every last bird. While I was present for this and appalled, the slaughter still occurred. Then I awoke.

 

In my studies, I have read accounts of birds standing beside smoking stacks and singing on a crematoria’s roof. I imagine their music mingling with those orchestral strains performed for arriving boxcars at the camp gates.

 

I know there are arguments for everything, spurious and true. Seals are culled on the spring ice and fur is farmed commercially. Soot that was muskeg is siphoned to the coast where steel vessels suck it down.

 

When my first daughter was born, my wife heard her every cry in the night. She would wake and materialize at our infant’s side while I would always sleep. Other dads have shared with me similar stories. We are benevolent but not always present.

 

Is this why the Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father”?

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