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What if, when my steps darken a sanctuary
to become separated from the world,
a holy inferno enveloped my body
to burn away with its vortex of tongues
my clothes: consuming my overcoat first
before lapping my shirt and undershirt off
and turning to ash my trousers, boxers, and socks?
What if I was made naked like Adam,
each feature of my form fully displayed
before this fiery cyclone scalded my flesh
and blistered my skin into an unblemished state –
throbbing like embers plucked from a furnace
and rendered tender like a newborn’s rump?
Would I then not resemble the burning bush,
a living organism alight in the wilds
undevoured by this radiant power?
Yes, the very nature of my life would be changed.
No place could exist for my sandal’s dust,
the earth’s infections, or my heart’s vain filth,
for this Flame would baptize, refine, and cauterize
so I might stand in its purest presence
to hear the whispers from its thermal wind
I am who I am – as it embraces
before blowing me back into our world.

Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

Nathaniel A. Schmidt

Nathaniel A. Schmidt serves as a chaplain within the Christian Reformed Church and holds degrees from Calvin Theological Seminary, Calvin University, and The University of Illinois, Springfield. His first collection of poems, An Evensong, is available from Wipf and Stock. He lives with his librarian wife, Lydia, and their daughter in Muskegon, MI, meaning life is a perpetual story-time.

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