First Foray Into Apophatic Theology

First Foray Into Apophatic Theology


and then God is not like the sound the kindling
makes as it meets the matchhead, not like the buoy
in the bay invisible at night, not like the gravity
calling to the pear on the bough above the field,
nor the beam from which the boy you knew
roped a knot around his neck to yoke this life
to the next if there is a next and if not then to—
nothingness. God is not like nothingness.

If God transcends all, then God transcends language.
If God transcends language, we cannot deploy
language to particularize God. If we cannot articulate
what God is, we can only announce what God is not.
This is how I approach the divine; I study
the corona that circles the eclipse, which I’ve been told
not to look at, still there’s some elegance in the bright

blur of pain behind my eyes. And so,
unable to see the center, I trace the edges; I outline
the mystery’s border; like making chalk silhouettes
of the body at a murder investigation—a technique
no detective actually uses as it contaminates the evidence.
God is not the evidence. Not the residue, the shell
casings, the blood pattern, or the partial fingerprint.
Not the container or the object emptied.
I’m not saying God is the negation. I’m saying
the crime scene has been compromised.
I’m the one who compromised it.