Thursday, April 5, 2007

"Madonna Magdalene"

Kim Garcia's work has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Rosebud, Nimrod, Cimarron Review, Mississippi Review, Brightleaf, Scribner's Best of the Fiction Workshops, Negative Capability and Lullwater Review, among others. She is the recipient of the 2004 Ursala LeGuin Prize, the 2002 Willard R. Espy Award, an AWP Intro Writing Award, a Hambridge Fellowsip and an Oregon Individual Artist Grant.

She applied the "page 69 test" to her poetry collection Madonna Magdalene and reported the following:
Page 69 of Madonna Magdalene is a poem called “Cain,” the third and final part of a passionate conversation I imagined out of the Genesis stories. In his own dramatic monologue Adam has mourned the loss of Paradise in his lover, Before you I slept and I have not forgotten your perfection. But in “Eve’s Answer,” Eve argues that in Paradise they were like stones falling, too stupid/ with obedience to grieve and welcomes their newly fallen state:

Only God’s fingers, that joyful grasping inside me,

could have seized such sight.

Only God within you

could have been tempted by it.

What evil can come

of such a joyful beginning?

“Cain” answers that question, reminding us that even a murderer was once a beautiful baby, as perfect as any Christ child. Giving voice to the tender complexities between mother and child, between lovers, and lovers of God, is what I hoped to do in Madonna Magdalene, and I’m grateful to "Page 69" for giving me a chance to think about them again here. For me beauty and suffering and joy can bloom together in a single moment of incarnation, as they do here in the world’s first child.

Genesis Suite: Cain

It is a fresh-fallen world,
and Cain is master of it.
First tooth, first step, first word.
He will be second in nothing.

The raw yoke of the sun
runs warm light over his downy back.
The stone floor is furred with gold.
Cain’s day is fat and vigorous;
and what he sees, he possesses whole.

In the night his cradle rocks
under the open window
as he moves his heavy head,
round and white as the moon,
from side to side.

He dreams what all children will dream:
endless, indivisible dominion.
His small hands grip hard
against the rough cotton under his body.
Soft nails scratch quietly as they move.

The moonlight slides over his body
making the new down on his head
cold, bright silver
and all his body white with light.
Visit Kim Garcia's website and check out her poetry available online.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue