Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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The Unknowing

March 21, 2023

Susan Cowger

Unknowing—this is the tension and difficulty of life that sits on my chest some days, seasons, years, how long how long. I plead and search, scour the sky for answers; I scream, and I kneel. Answers come, often disguised as almost impossible things, some just there, some I must do, some I must go through. And lo, grace arrives but in ways I would not think of nor expect.

What is being reclaimed in these poems? Faith. However difficult and confusing it seems. How fearful.


The red tail soars    seaming invisible

updrafts    amid the annoying hit & run

of a songbird    Why    I have no answers

I only watch as cancer

with intractable exploits    does a deadly job

I peck out a sound

like joy    too close to talons

and hooded eyes    pleading the protector

the strongest    holiest thing in the sky

to look at me    come after me

Help me


On the Observation Deck: A Resuscitation 

Bird lungs extend

into the bone    So no    Bird bones

are not merely hollow    they’re pneumatized

Think of oxygen as need    immense as prayer

or dreams where you are under water

retching and choking    and only recover when

forced to breathe

in & out

at the same time    Circular breathing

This is what it takes

to fly


Selah: To Understand More Than a Sentence 

There is no clearing away the tickle

the dryness    gruffing away the constriction

in the throat    How long

did Moses perch    transfixed    on his knees

facing mortiferous Holy

before risking a careful breath    tacitly

holding it    through the slow shaky rise

head down    always down    only

touching a bare toe

to a square of light that slipped in

under the great curtain

The featured image titled, “Dawn Light in a Cathedral of Pines”,  is courtesy of Lancia E. Smith, and used with her glad permission for Cultivating.


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  1. Laurie Klein says:

    touching a bare toe
    to a square of light that slipped in
    under the great curtain”

    Such a small movement, such a vast encounter.

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