A Second Look at Creation

by Sergio Lima Facchini
First Place, April 2008
Judged by Patricia Smith

Every biped, crawler and slitherer; every daybreak
fast-forwarding past the solstice; every afternoon that loses
momentum as it plods into evening; every child born
logical and cerebral, proud to be gifted,
bright as Andromeda and Cassiopeia; every planet in the universe,
comets, black holes,
their combined gravitational pull,
pulling on each of the five known elements: earth, water,
fire, air, and yellowing passion fruit;
every pediment, apse, nave, narthex, effigy, oracle,
pyramid, every all-seeing
eye; every crease and whorl on a palm;
every hand that holds money and is diligent,
hard-working, closed to commitments;
all of those, along with matches, hydraulic presses,
arguments, salt water,
and the admirable number pi, took long,
sweeping strokes to be made, one by one,
as God was going through multiple life crises,
barely surviving each brainstorm.

How many times he’s come back from the brink of losing face,
such as when in the midst of a heated debate
over who made what and to what purpose, a sudden
gust of wind blew off his skullcap,
exposing a bald spot
high in the crown.
But for the most part he’s feeling good;
he’s glad it’s spring even if it means he must restart from scratch,
trying to convince things buried and burrowed
to come back up, saying tongue-in-cheek
it will be different
this time.

I immediately fell in love with this submission's lyrical momentum--building a narrative, building a defense, building a remarkably fresh view of an old story. I was intrigued by the poem's sweet science, hurtling toward a who-knows-what crescendo--and in the end, we have a tentative, warmly human deity struggling with his confidence, pulling in a weary breath and beginning again. I read every poem I encounter out loud, listening for the magic it works on the open air, and this one was a particular joy--deftly avoiding preachiness and predictability with bright, rollicking language. --Patricia Smith