As If God Will Dress Me Down to Dust – a poem by Rodney Torreson

As If God Will Dress Me Down to Dust

or descend me deep into a grudge of shadows,
sometimes a bitter eye glints in me,
but soon I feel eternity flow through a horse’s mane,
as it spirits across a glen  
under my shirt button, as if right behind
the blowing through is the veil between this life and the last.
A backlog of belief bares as fact: God knew me
before I was born—even with my eyes unfinished,
and no spark lurked in them—when He
tussled with my bones to prop up
my heart—sumptuous breath laid out in a wreath—

as he gave my cheeks a pinch of sky to fly on,
and impulsive me nodded “Yes! Yes!” 
right there in the garden, since even there the head 
was first to form. But in the gruel of birth and wandering 
flesh I forget: sixty odd years has the weight of 600,
though later, realizing I, maybe, signed up for this,
I grab onto faith in the free-flowing mane
of perhaps a palomino, head jutted forth—
as if out of my chest, knowing that later, 
in a struggle to mount, I’ll get the vaporous push 
up its flanks to perch upon its sleek back 
and veer toward the hidden field.

The former poet laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rodney Torreson is a retired parochial schoolteacher who taught in the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod for thirty-six years. He won the Seattle Review’s Bentley Prize, and Storyline Press named him runner-up for the national Roerich Prize for first books. In 2015, the Dyer-Ives Foundation honored him “for his longstanding commitment as a poet, teacher, patron, and advocate for poetry in West Michigan.

His third full-length collection of poetry, THE JUKEBOX WAS THE JURY OF THEIR LOVE, was issued by Finishing Line Press in 2019. Torreson has published in many journals, most recently AMERICAN JOURNAL OF POETRY, MAIN STREET RAG, NORTH DAKOTA QUARTERLY, PATERSON LITERARY REVIEW, AND  TAR RIVER POETRY. 

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