19 Psaltery & Lyre: Tyler Chadwick, “Upon Hearing Elder B—— Bear Witness that ‘Satan is Real’ to a Mormon Congregation the Second Sunday of 2011″


Upon Hearing Elder B—— Bear Witness that “Satan is Real” to a Mormon Congregation the Second Sunday of 2011

I watched my almost-three-year-old pick lint from her hand-me-down pink tights,
considered how quickly they’d unravel if she kept teasing that stray mid-thigh string—
obsessing it loose from the nylon weave—and whether the thread would stretch
from our pew to God’s, though I imagined that empty, imagined him out fishing the Snake,
waves lapping at his waders like a dog left alone all day whose humans have homed heavy
with the scent of attention, the scent of desire insatiate as the current run parallel God’s lures:
the Hal Smith and Black Magnum Leech he tied for his boys before their Hells Canyon run
an aeon ago, the winter his second went serial, slit his upbringing anus to jaw
like the limit of steelhead they took that trip: gore, shit, scales, and the perfect planes
of omega-rich meat chafing his pathology grown obsessive as his knife’s even slice
anus to jaw— And repeat— And repeat— And again— His pathology grown vulpine
as the legion that whispered with the gore from his brother’s side when the impatient blade
thought the crucifix too slow and slipped in to finish before Father could unravel the temple veil
to get line enough to suture the grave, to finish the Olive Matuka he was tying
when the sheriff showed, said Lucifer’s M.O. had surfaced downstream Eden: fig split ostiole
to stalk and snagged in the back-whorl where undercut bank exposed tree roots like fish ribs
scavenged free flesh by the gulls whose hunger has stalked God to impotence since he
shooed them with buckshot from Eden’s bowels and sent cherubim to cover the corpse
until his firstborn could perfect his cast enough to finesse new flesh from the Styx.



Tyler Chadwick is a doctoral candidate in English and the Teaching of English at Idaho State University and his poems have been published in various journals: Dialogue, Metaphor, Irreantum, Salome, Black Rock & Sage, Wilderness Interface Zone, and Victorian Violet Press Poetry Journal. In 2009 he received the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize and in 2010 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He’s also the editor of Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets.


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