E.H. Thatcher


In Church

I do not lie prostrate in structures of dead wood and greasy iron. There is no drenched book written by men in white cloth, no liturgy of ink. No fee tossed blindly onto a golden plate. Find me in this valley, my neck wet with glacier water. I claim the curvature of stones as tithe. Hymns are the songs of gulls, the warbling tenor of this stream. I meet God behind a waterfall, in the bowels of a deep cave: three branches of crowberry, gull saliva, brown grass.





St. Ignatius
For Cedric

Listen closely when he proselytizes
atop wooden boxes: God is uncertain, too.

He wields the holy spirit
in Valencia, amidst cloistered halls—

white birch. He, who catches
crows with nets of spun gold hay.

What makes him a saint?
Not rigidity, not knowledge

of scripture. More, his blessed
barefoot trips over broken twigs,

clasped palms to foreheads marred
by sweat, joy without condition.

He quakes at last rites,
at ascension of the body.

Listen closely when he bends
the knee and whispers: I am uncertain, too.

In sanctified galoshes, St. Ignatius
explores misted swamps, wades

through temporal muck. Emerges
cleaner than Easter Sunday in the Vatican.






The Prophet

First I came to be, and thought of a lotus flower:
The rose-colored petals folded back, an unspoiled flower.

He spilled the urn of heaven. An uncaring sea rose
to crescendo— broke on my newly formed flower.

My father makes me breakfast, toast cut up in quarters
covered in cinnamon, sugar, butter.  Conditions of flour.

Up on crosses, robbers bow their heads, adorned with thorns.
Their passion brings Mary to tears, waters the flowers.

Autumn blooms, and from the oak leaves underfoot
comes the scent of my mother’s patchouli, wilted earthy flowers.

I am a prophet of God almighty, a crude, misspelled Elijah.
My parents crushed j and h, stemmed my dripping flower.








E.H. Thatcher is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Chatham University. He received the John Gerrietts Award for Creative Writing from Loyola University Chicago and the Margaret Whitford Fellowship from Chatham University. His work has appeared in Around Poetry and is forthcoming in Heron Tree, States of the Union and Weatherbeaten.