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Stephen R. Clark

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Oreland, Pennsylvania
Joined June 1996


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Stephen R. Clark | The Godtouch

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Matthew 18:1-6 / for Mom, Dad, and Sis
The Fear of God


The night is hushed.
And I feel small and alone

under the covers in my roomworld.

Outside across the steaming street

the insects sing click-silver songs

below the glass-skinned sky.

My gnomish heart tocks tombishly

as shadowed shapes stalk

in the darkness at the edge of the bed

playing with the dustballs underneath.

Slowly the eyeball moon moves over

and shines dimly around the rolling room

waking the ghosts in the cross-backed chairs.


It is Sunday night.

And my heathen head is unhinged

heaving with "Holy! Holy! Holy!" armed angels chanting.

And the preacher's images of hell and demons

and Armageddon's rancid red rivers.

I lay remembering the tripping little lies,

the wicked thoughts,

and the mean things spoken and done,

and become frightened.

If my lamplighting Christ came now

with silver trumpet bursting sound,

would I be stranded on my island bed

in the drifting darkness?


The night's silence accuses sharply.

Full of damning desperation and darts of doubts,

I fear that at the other end of the long-halled home

my parents are not there. Taken. Changed. Twinkling.

And HE has returned, leaving me, lackluster, tarnished,

in this deafening, frenzied hush.

Nearly too scared, yet pricked by need,

seeking certainty in the face of fallen fear,

I touchdown on the floor. Reassured, finding only carpet

and cold wood, I creep down the hallowing hall

cursing childishly every creak, fearing finding nothing,

or being found out.


At their door, always open, I wait,

listening for breathing or snoring, then look,

and they are there! Love lumps on the moonlit bed!

I still have a changeling's chance

to make things right again,

and stop by the bathroom, relieved to be relieved.

Then bumble back to bed

with only fears of dark and night things going bump,

and a prayer of repentance in my whistling heart,

not often enough again fearing

in quite the same intense way

the chastening chance of being missed and left alone,

in the chilling stillness, lost,

like a child in the dangling dark.


Lord, have mercy.









The Godtouch: Poems by Stephen R. Clark





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