Michael the Archangel

by Steve Ely

Little John’s Well at Stubbs dried up
as limestone quarrying behind the scarp
progressively destroyed the water table.
Dry years, as earth-locked rain burrowed
and bored in the bones of Barnsdale, before breaking
to the light in a winter-wheat field,
east of the Ea Beck bridge. Soon, rags were tied
to streamside trees and silver sown
in the muck’s bright mirror. An underground
tradition, like midrash or the cult of saints,
bubbling forth like a rolling boil:
one harrowing hell with the corpse
of Moses, under the guns of Randi
and Dawkins, the canons of the Church.