Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Politics of the Afterlife

The wasp nest the drones built
is finished,

and at night I hear them
suckling nectar

and hemolymph from victims.

I strip the porch boards,

which scorches innards,
rages like a house fire
before it kills.

“They can all burn,”
I tell Thom.

Gehenna—a valley
where the sacrificed are stacked,

where I ferry the nest
after I’ve turned it
to a grey tomb safe
for children.

I want to be bigger.

Unconscionable life,
where I must kill

more than I can save,
I want to love you. You

and Rob Bell,
who wrote that Ghandi
wasn’t in hell.

A thousand parishioners
left his church.

An article said people got uncomfortable
with the idea others
didn’t have to suffer
when they should suffer, even if
it’s horribly, with extreme

instruments of torture for good.

We need a God
capable of wrath

one pastor wrote as if God
were his echo.

The article doesn’t indicate
what the pastor did after this,

but I imagine him
turning from presbytery
to nave,

into the spring
where ferns and flowers
the color of persimmons
swatched the lawn.

And he thought
how greedy the flowers
look, jockeying for an angle

on unclouded sky.

Yes, and how survival

made them cruel
at times.

Thick malaise coming,
anvil clouds

into obscurity.

I have coveted,
and I have been coolly vengeful, Lord.

But you are much larger,
much kinder than me.

You can be like the clouds
who when they rain
sound like wings
beating and beating
the dark.  end  

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