blackbirdonline journalSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Accountability for Your Blind Sheep

God could be dark matter, named yet inexplicable.

He’s suspect when Chilean sheep go blind. Then The New York Times decides
it’s ozone, now pinkeye, and soon other reasons not to pray.

From the restaurant patio with my glass of ice water, I see a homeless man pass twice,
and an amputee practicing in the heat with her walker.

I’m reminded of my grandmother, her insistence

on scrubbing her stained pants with a damp cloth as if she feared falling
into the print of the armchair.

These passersby return to background.

On my way home, I want to take all the pronouns from my pocket—

THEY—the blind sheep
HE—the homeless man
SHE—the amputee

and swallow them.
It turns out I’ve had this problem in my dreams of being every character—

A woman who spends most of her time at hotels, where men still buy her drinks,
fewer this year than last.

By preferring the living room to football stadiums, a man who realizes
he’s become one of those old people complaining about the noise.

I feel a tingling sensation of that dark matter, allowing expanse. Do we learn to live with it
or just forget? In sleep, I wonder

about the homeless man’s parents

about the tired yellow buttons at the Natural History Museum

about the endings of Perry Mason, how neat

about Our Lady of Guadalupe statues; I’ve painted three.

In the morning, the one in the side yard dozes in prayer
while I’m caught shutting my eyes, saying no thank you, not interested.

Yet she, balancing on that little crescent on that little angel, paints self-portraits with roses.
Her creative obedience—

thrilling, how she reminds Juan Diego and Mexico’s native people
they are not forgotten.  

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