Written by Jaslyn Thienbunlertrat

When the seven voices were torn from her,
their devouring mouths unhinging, serpent’s hiss,
siren’s wail, she learned to breathe again. Standing above
her: Teacher. Friend. Eyes like a father’s: tender, blazing.
They left, flame quenched, with the touch of a hand.

“Where have they taken him?” she asks the gardener,
a child again, a grieving daughter. Her head is veiled
but cold. The hand that had touched her, she’d watched
pierced: nail entering flesh, nerve endings on fire.
“Where is he?” she asks, withering in the garden.

Where are You? In heaven above, earth below?
Are You in this valley, Your long shadow touching mine?
Are You lost to me, You who were closer than close?
Rend this raging grief. Harrow this hell.
Will You come to me again, calling me by name?

And then You call me by my name, after I called Yours
in the dead hours of night, before the closed grave.
I raise my head and my blindness is torn from me,
the devouring mouth of despair closing at long last.
Your hand touches my head. Your eyes are the Father’s:

Tender, blazing, eternal as the light that rends the dark.
Your hand is warm, alive; I am a child again, your weeping
daughter. I thought you were the gardener, I almost say,
but You are. You, most gentle, most tender. Your Hand touches
the wounds of creation, holds the sorrowing sum of the earth.

It is spring among the flowers. You have returned my voice
to my mouth, breath to my lungs; You have given me back
my name. “Where are You?” I asked, and the answer is: here:
God with us, God with us, the God of the garden
one day to walk with us; as close as the touch of a hand.

Jaslyn Thienbunlertrat is a lover of stories. She tries to tell good ones. Though she originally hails from Thailand and Taiwan, she now lives and studies literature in Greater Vancouver.