Alex Mouw

In Their Own Image
by Alex Mouw

One mile from the concrete Bauhaus cathedral, down
a trail crisscrossed with roots and fallen birches,

stands an empty chapel dedicated to Mary. We enter
the thin painted door to huge spiders, black and brown,

pocked with bits of white and yellow, each waiting
for the moth wobbling around the rim of the ceiling light.

Hilary arrived before us. She’s sitting in the only chair
on the dusty tiled floor. While she is here on leave

from a doctorate in philosophy, her husband remains
in Texas with their year-old son, who’s watching

American Sign Language on a computer screen,
whose trach tube, wider than a straw, wheezes. His

working eye scans the colored spines of his mother’s
books. He drums with a toy horse on an empty soup bowl,

on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, and the claw foot
of the couch. He will have another surgery when she

gets back. We ask why the wooden icon of Mary looks so
out of proportion, and Hilary tells us the monks make her

in their own image. See, she says, see how this one’s done
by intaglio, tiny eyes dug from the wood, hooded by her brow.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 4.

Alex MouwAlex Mouw’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado ReviewSouthern Indiana ReviewTahoma Literary Reviewpoets.orgSouthword, and elsewhere. He also writes nonfiction and was recently selected as runner-up in Ruminate Magazine‘s VanderMey Nonfiction Prize. 


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