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IMAGE Issue 97

Now one of the leading literary journals published in English, IMAGE is read all over the world—and forms the nexus of a warm and active community. The publication seeks out and brings to its readers work of high artistic quality that engages with the historic faith traditions on a profound level, without easy answers or false uplift, and with a serious respect for beauty and truth.

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the haunted mirror

IMAGE HAS ALWAYS embraced the idea that art often speaks better than argument, and that seems especially true in times of grief. For this issue, we’ve chosen to print a poem rather than a traditional editorial. As the Image board and staff search for a new editor, we and our community are in a state of lament—over what we’ve learned about this institution’s past and over this painful transition. People suffered in the past and are suffering now. There seems not to be a way of fixing things without breaking more things. The world is broken, each one of us is broken, and institutions are liable to their own peculiar forms of brokenness. During this time, I’ve appreciated the following poem by Scott Cairns. Yes, for its warning against schadenfreude, but also…

bad theology: a quiz

SCOTT CAIRNS Whenever we aver the God is nigh,do we imply that he is ever otherwise? When, in scripture, God’s anger is saidto be aroused, just how do you take that? If—whether now or in the fullness—westipulate that God is all in all, just where or how would you position hell? Whichis better, to break the law and soothe the wounded neighbor, or to keep the lawand cause the neighbor pain? Do you mean it? If another sins, what is that to you?When the sinful suffer publicly, do you find secret comfort in their grief, or willyou also weep? They are surely grieving; are you weeping now? Assuming sin is sin,whose do you condemn? Who is judge? Who will feed the lambs? The sheep? Who, the goats?Who will sell and give? Who will be denied? Whose image haunts the mirror?…

the bell game

THE WEIRDEST THING about what happened after everyone vanished? The church bells wouldn’t stop tolling. 1) Nobody died. It was an eternal life situation. 2) It was annoying for all the people who were left, always having to listen to bells every second that reminded them that 1) they should go to church more often and 2) someone they love, or a lot of someones, are gone now. We sat outside after school and played the bell game. Someone said the name of a vanished person, and then the next person had to say another name, and then around the circle like that until someone couldn’t think of a new name or someone said a name off beat. This person owed everyone a soda with their own money. Sometimes the stoners…

wonders of the invisible world

1. Doesn’t everybody get a strange life?Don’t we all get to walk aroundinside ourselves all day longand sleep there through the whole night?Don’t we all have permanent accessto the magnum and the minimum opus,the rising up and the sinking down?Aren’t we granted the rightto refrain from occupyingmore than one place at a time,from sharing the portable spaces we inhabit,from being in the least interchangeable?Doesn’t it take all of our courageto be this but not that?no matter how incremental the distinctionsin this world where even the smallest entityis epic to itself and objects go preciselyto their own edges and then stop,or at least hesitate.Don’t we get all the oceanand the idea of the ocean—diffusion, resistance, and support—along with those in-your-face heavensof exponential blue,cumuli performing their high-wire actas the wind releases its flayedand…

stuart devlin’s sculpture

Modern coins the sizes of shineswept off my friend’s bureau in Ghentand pocketed by my careless habit—not brown pennies too dull to returnthey include designer Devlin’s sculptureof the duckbilled animalswimming up to the top swirland five kangaroo tails mixed to a dollar. When the Irish attained their republicthey mounted their noble beasts trim,each well inside a knurled rimand labeled in lapidary Gaelicwhile our successors simply enactthemselves: the lyrebird lapped under music,echidna belly-on like a buckleeach numerally off center and whacked. What is the use of small change?To pay small debts, toss up, delight children,to gamble by the jingle-crash billion—to clean your teeth, with the card tasting strange…


IT WAS MY IDEA to volunteer as a clown, but it was my therapist who suggested that I work as a mute because I am so talkative. That way I’d have to use my face and props to communicate instead of words. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, for I quickly got good with my rubber chicken—I’d squeeze him and make him lay an egg or I’d hang him from a blue cord for “chicken cordon bleu”—but I am digressing as I always do because I talk too much. Yet it was harder than I’d thought to actually become a clown. I had to go to clown college and specialize in therapeutic patient-led clowning. You have to design a unique look and a face—something that has never been…