God’s Mnemonic

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Stephen Kampa

God’s Mnemonic


      The beauty we’ve forgotten stays forgotten
      In heaven, too, unmemorable, unmissed;
      By contrast, our disfigurements persist
      Like igneous rocks or an eternal thought in

      The mind of God: the palsied lurch and stumble,
      Outgrowths and fleshy gaps from the atomic
      Fallout, wet empty sockets, the semi-comic
      Hydrocephalic bulge—they keep us humble,

      More down-to-earth, distinctly kind, and should
      No more define perdition than election.
      Why think affliction must preclude affection?
      Why think our earthly horrors bring no good

      News of their own? It’s time that we confess
      With every awful blemish, every chronic
      Eruption or collapse, the oldest chthonic
      Law becomes clear: through our unsightliness,

      We grow more recognizable from afar.
      Perhaps God tires of beauty’s cool, laconic
      Demeanor. Perhaps pain is God’s mnemonic:
      We scar so he’ll remember who we are.