Seti

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John-Michael Bloomquist’s poem, “Seti,” appears in the Michigan Quarterly Review’s Spring 2020 issue.


Seti

The planets rise like white spots in the purple
evening sticking out like a child’s tongue
for a doctor to hold the moonlight to.
In eternity, everything is healthy, but here
even a good family must struggle to get along.
Israel means to wrestle with God.
and my father who studies and reads
ancient Hebrew believes there must be aliens

somewhere out there, searching the word too—
folding space-time like the accordion of a
barrel cactus in an ancient grammar to find the
Mount Sinai of the heart, a planet God still speaks
to. Sunday night after leading the church in prayer,
he’d grab Taco Bell so we could gather
around the television in time to catch Star Trek begin
the quest to seek out new life . . .

When Jesus said he wasn’t of this world,
it didn’t occur to me to think of one where
everyone walked on water. My father watched me
grow up surfing every summer. He watched me comb
the ocean with each ride, fall backwards
before the shallow rocks raked the fins.
Then paddle back out for more.
He was always sitting there on the beach,

wearing a yellow shirt so I could spot him
with a Bible in his hands, visiting that other,
hidden world, and looking up to check
if I was there, waving back if he saw me waving.