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Scrolls

1.
How can you say, “We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us,” when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie? (Jeremiah 8:8)

Yellowed and torn,
covered in scribblings,
I place the parchment
into my mouth.

Some words are full of bones
that choke and stick in my throat.

Others are ripe with pulp
and tender flesh, but beneath
are seeds, bitter and hard.
These I spit on the ground,
they will bear no fruit.

The sweetest of words dissolve,
turn metallic —
the taste of sword and scythe
cuts my tongue. I can speak
only violence and death.

This sour scrawling stings
and foams at my lips
that long for some deliverance.

2.
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart. (Jeremiah 15:16)

The little scroll, tightly bound
must be consumed all of a piece.
I place it wholly on my tongue.
It is a thousand bees fanning their wings —
honeycomb that sticks to my teeth,
drips down the back of my throat.
A palpable grace I can scarce comprehend.

Nadine Ellsworth-Moran is associate pastor at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia.

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