Sarah Carey Gainesville (Jen Karetnick)
A Pileated Woodpecker Shares Where to Find God
I live for what the dead give.
Hidden by leaf screens and branches,
I pillage rotting wood. My tribe fought
long for salvation, after the forests’ razing,
dug into ragged stumps, felled trunks--
a miracle of wholeness from fragments,
a feast of insects who thrive on decay.
What’s left when I leave is for others to say.
Should you see my black wings
and red head knocking wood for nourishment,
you might ask if I believe God is dead,
as Altizer said, that God lived and died
in Christ, that the church lied
about becoming the body—but what Altizer said
was not what most thought he meant,
he really meant in death, life—a spirit
indwelling to drill the dying down,
incarnate carnage, God’s passion.
If you ask me, I’m proof he was right.
If you listen to my rat-a-tat melody
echoing my drumming beak, you may hear
an answered prayer of oneness in desire’s
shrill tattoo, and the thrumming
of your own wild heart.
Originally published in SWWIM Everyday, 2019