In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • The Sculptor of Sleep, and: Easter Vigil, and: "The Mystery’s Festal Garment"
  • David Mutschlecner (bio)

The Sculptor of Sleep

All afternoon I worked on the bronze statues with a steel brush, cleaning off the excess wax that had left a white sheen as of milk or soap streaking in the waves and folds of metal robes, pooling in the pockmarks, pallor sinking into the tooled grooves and flecking the smooth uplifted faces

At five the shadows had fallen so deeply over the sculptured saints that I could no longer work and so went home to my beer and my book. I read and thought of Eckhart: how severe he was, excoriating the soul of every palpable love.

All creatures are pure nothingAll creatures have no beingfor their being consistsin birth past the ambit of desire

      If it is thus for creation      can I at least use poetry      to part the darkness of this      scabrous abyss?

No, you must walk withoutthat light, even withoutyour hands before your face,without eyes, without hands,

without face. Poets pretend, but who among us, now or ever, could take the birth-pangs he conceived. Perhaps the cold chill of the metal had turned thoughts feverish: I dreamed I saw, as if under the power of an optometrist’s close beam, the back of my eyeball. [End Page 135]

Aching concave membraneThe same abrasions I hadclarified in cleaningWhite scales harshly                  brushed away

The day after the dream I anoint the statues with lemon oil, rubbing the fragrance into fanned-out folds where robe and dress resemble rock faces. Thin chiseled lines and ripples spreading like water blown over rock, oil       into corpse-wound contusions [End Page 136]

Easter Vigil

Who is it looks at methrough the reflex of a candle flamein the polished mahogany

      All that I have done      flickers in the dark of the not done      flickers in the great winged dark

            The hull resonates in the breaking            swell of the Gloria            The light is sudden    blinding

The world in its age grows godly-hollowWhat cargo did I dream onin the long candle readings

      Blown wax      spatters on the red brick floor      Any vessel will do

            any hold            any night to hide the night            any cistern for the moon

            O any sister light [End Page 137]

“The Mystery's Festal Garment”

Another year I glossthe red brick for Easter

      the rag soaked      and stiffening with wax

            I have polished            the confessional

            but I do that everywhere

Blessing earth notvoided by the love of heaven

      Rubbing the black      grout with lacquer

            Pressing light into the stone


      Proof      follows praxis

            as fact            follows form

      “We know all that!      —what a foolish [End Page 138]

            thing to say. Anyone            can know the story”

      but to be present      where love is the form

            to be            a worker in the Work [End Page 139]

David Mutschlecner

David Mutschlecner lives and works in New Mexico. He has published three books with Ahsahta, most recently Enigma and Light (2012). Mutschlecner currently has work in New American Writing.



Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 135-139
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.