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          “I contain multitudes”  —Walt Whitman

fugitive and scaled captor
linked by appointment
more than accident 
more than appetite

here I am
mammal mother with child
some kind of finned Mary 
wailing through hospital halls
get this thing out

here I am
the ark adrift
culled herd-and-gaggle home of cryptic promise
some kind of roe, multitudes, stars in galaxies
deep space is cold, like my friend Sheol

Tarshish where it feels good, a favorite fedora
little man, you will swim into miles-below places
where life-breath is liquid, where inky void swallows light 
sans rainbow, sans dove
your nephesh a dark star

press ballpoint Bic
into a triplicate of days
and you are left with
impression    impression    impression

just as I have taken you in—
protected from indelible drench, suffocating writhe
so will Sister Shrub cover you with salvific shade—
an unlikely temporal Tarshish
eventually lost in antiquity

lo! the indigestion
find me an altar in these waves
is this fear in me
or love

Photo by Imleedh Ali on Unsplash

Anne Marie Holwerda Warner

Anne Marie Holwerda Warner is a divinity student at Western Theological Seminary and a postulant for priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. Her poems have appeared in fifteen publications including Earth & AltarThe HourImpossible Task, and Last Stanza Poetry Journal.


  • Barbara Liggett says:

    Love this poem! Could easily visualize the inners of the fish and the indigestion.
    Word choice, tempo and space crossed place and time.
    The Whitman setting of “multitudes” served as a reminder of how complex
    creation is. Answer to your
    question – fear or love? I vote love. A blessing and a great read to start my day.
    Thank you.

  • Jack Ridl says:

    Love of language, music, wonder, another way of seeing, and questions that open us.
    Thank you!!!