We have lived in iconoclastic cities
that felt so impious and giant
we really had no choice.
We prayed

to rosaries made out of twist tops
and twined our crucifixes with
the wet, white brains of those we had to bury.
Expectorant escaping our mouths in
such big globs we needed torn strips of comforters,
whole boxes of maxi pads,
rags stitched together in a tight loop
(the Kleenex just won’t do)
to stop the gelatin
that should have stayed afloat in our stomachs
but is running down our throat
and we’re drinking it like it’s last call.
We are full with threats like that.
This is when we first learned how to say
and we looked around to make sure
no one heard us.
We swallowed

our first think
and prepared to violate our floors
with the shredded plural nouns
it implored us to forget.
We watched our wine turn
back to water turn
back to bile turn
back to sores
and scraped them off like dust
that flies around the room like reckless words
that would make a lovely snack
for someone else to munch
because our intestines are too shriveled
to digest too much.
We said too much
and imbibed a little
to turn back the clock
and forget about our dinner plans.
We lurked

the Earth like frightened dinosaurs
who remembered they were fossils
but wanted just one more inhale,
just one more gaze,
one more whiff of the pollen
that will surely revive us
and now we’re
hiding from the press
over there!
in a pile of dandelions shooting from the dirt
that are picked and discarded
like weeds
even though they still have some beauty,
some utility,
and so do we,
but the sky wanted redemption
and materialized as rapid blazing extinction.
We said “please” to a raincloud
and hoped it didn’t split its skull
with fire.
We are soaked

in our gray One’s love.
Our spleens are clean like giant tongues
licking up the heart and light
from the roots and the night
and we are
learning how to grow from fertilizer
that smells like shit:
the past seven years
reduced to a few hazy days,
a few lousy seconds of clarity,
and we are lucky we didn’t try seppuku
with a remnant of bottle
as some other voice once dared.
We still have that raggedy noose somewhere
but we don’t wear it often.
We look like Sunday and we say:
We’ve got mud on our whites
but we’re trudging anyway.
We owe someone, somewhere.

We understand our first thought
is not usually
about church.

“Step One”


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