by Nadine Ellsworth-Moran but beneath the first is my second scaffolding of paper mâché and lacquer, forever attentive, head tilted; palms pressed in undying prayer. No hallowed saint, no angel, yet she holds the holy between her lips, her painted eyes warywide; I am her ward, her burden, her joy. My organs bump up against the walls of her keeping. Safe. Her presence shepherds lost atoms of passions that drift in my murky biosphere. There are oceans inside me, deep trenches that have never known light so they make their own. In these dimmed currents the syllid fireworms, bobtail squid and dragonfish school and divide, emanate a bioluminescence. My deep-sea inhabitants swim the vein channels and tissue. I feel them move, their fins fan my blood, glint and startle causing uneasy ripples beneath her painted surface. She smooths her prayers over them and they sink into the quiet. My hands across my midsection, I know when they catch the tide rising from belly to lungs see the glow warm her frame, her gold robe softens and flows in folds, the vulnerable points begin to show. Those molecules of luciferin, light-bringers, swim into my joints and sockets, and every hollow place belongs to them, each straight path to her. ~After Jack Gilbert’s Searching for Pittsburgh
Nadine Ellsworth-Moran lives in Georgia where she serves full time in ministry. She has a passion for writing and is fascinated by the stories of the modern South unfolding all around her as she seeks to bring everyone into conversation around a common table. Her essays and poems have appeared in Interpretation, Ekstasis, Thimble, Emrys, Structo, Kakalak, and Sonic Boom, among others. She lives with her husband and four unrepentant cats.