The Ancient Modern
The Sunday of the Paralytic / Joshua Alan Sturgill
Let me sit at the feet of the rain
breaking my thoughts
to find gems inside them. Each body
is a consciousness
I heard a sparrow say
and say and say
all through the afternoon storm
in the classroom of my front porch
in the school of the universe.
Four of us
lowered our paralyzed friend
through a flock of sparrows
through the roof of the house where Jesus was.
I think we four were tenacity
and reason and hope and compassion
and our friend was our soul
and we broke the floor of the roof
to help our soul get back
to its home.
In this unseasonable rain, the roof
— baked mud and straw and plaster—
was soft and warm and crumbled suddenly.
The crowd inside panicked and ran;
they thought the universe was breaking.
But, calmly covered in roof-dust
with bits of straw in his beard
and the rain falling now at his feet,
Jesus waited to receive us.
As we lowered our friend into his house
the sparrows flew around his bed
at a passage to heaven
torn in the floor of the earth