Excerpt from On Reading Bonhoeffer by Kelly Cherry


This poem appears in our Fall 2015 Print Issue. Download and read the rest of the issue in digital format.


One may decide he was delusional.

How else could one believe in Paradise?

An island in the sky with easy breezes,

with California palms and descant angels,

a place that isn’t anywhere unless

it’s going to turn up in a fifth dimension.


(Or twenty-fifth, considering string theory.)

His father and brother were agnostic

scientists but had no evidence

that God did not exist. Nor can there be

a proof of what is not, although the odds

of God existing shrink from year to year.


Thus, they’ve shrunk since the German pastor believed

but plenty of theologians even then

did not consider Christ divine. Yet Dietrich

thought we should be disciples of the KLord

in all respects and trained himself as one,

and he was brave and kind and logical.

Kelly CherryKELLY CHERRY is the author of 24 books, 10 chapbooks, and 2 translations of classical drama. Recent titles include Twelve Women in a Country Called America, A Kelly Cherry Reader, and Physics for Physics. She retired in 1999 but still holds the positions of the Eudora Welty Professor Wmerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin Madison and now lives in rural Virginia with her husband and the sweetest bichon who ever lived.

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