Poetry

Poetry

The pastor’s wife considers drought

Faux thunder haunts my incoherent garden.
My chervil withers. The lettuce bolts.
Only rosemary’s roots remember rain.

Out by the road I find a young possum—
swollen—the fire ants celebrating, while
under the live oak resurrection ferns tarry.

Must I weigh the excellence of weeds—
how they thrive in their congregation—
thistle, wire grass, groundsel, nettle?



Sweet psalm

Good lost word, succor.
As an infant mouth pulls
sweet need from the breast.
Sucker: that child,
or a loser. Or a gull—
someone fooled. Gull’s
a sea grace too, a diving
shelter wing. Sucker:
sweet on a stick. Sticky.

Dive and warm me, sweet
Grace. Feed me, help me.
Don’t fool me, don’t lose me.
Be my succor. Stick to me.

For they shall be comforted

This oak took its bad news to the heart.
Lightning struck two springs ago
as I snored between my flashing walls.

Now scallops of orange fungus layer
the fissured bark. Spider sacs trailing
ragged webs streak the splinters like comets.

I have lost someone. Her eyes flash
among the decaying leaves. I hear
her small hands fluttering in the creek.

Grieve me, she calls. Split your heart
with my face. There is nothing else
I can do. I pull up a broken branch. I sit.





Hunger

Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
Psalm 81:10 (KJV)

Don’t be afraid of your hunger.
I gave it for your fullness,
The cravings, the pinched gullet,
the corrosive wants, all
have come to serve you.
Don’t be afraid of the pablum,
the drivel in your diet, or the sharp
cactus burrs when you swallow.
Don’t be afraid even if you don’t
know you are hungry.

For they shall inherit the earth

The child who labored under the AK-47,
who bore its weight like a claw on his naked shoulder

and memorized the equation of trigger + blood = food,
cried out to Ludana and escaped to the darkening savannah.

He awoke on a carpet of acacia shadows. Above him,
the coral dawn shook out its feathers

and raptors began to ripple through the sky.
He spilled his heart out like water to the Lord.

And ants came to him, came by the thousands,
encircling his neck like a chain of glittering onyx.