Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2021  Vol. 20  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Ordinary Psalm in the Days of Awe

Dear god of rapture and razors,
of garnet houseflies and seed
packed away in earth until it rains,

in the four dimensions of the actual,
is not the fifth a bully, wrapping duct-tape
around the present’s mouth,

my best friend’s car empty as a bone
on the parking structure’s roof,
his note slipped under a wiper,

the far far below faintly marked
with his suicidal fall? Holy of holies,
in the days of fasting, of returning

to our failures, of walking then
through the unlocked door into more,
did I not stand with you,

outside time, no idea of the reasons,
only the appearance, only the bleating
lights of the ambulance

flashing across our faces,
while night too slowly took up
its undoing? Did I not love him

on the other side of understanding?
And creation too—autumn’s gild
as it latches the sycamore to crimson,

the fields tumorous with sunlit globes.
Oh god of breakage and bloom,
every September a listening comes

through the dying cornfields at town’s edge,
and I am confused
why you made me human,

if not to resemble lostness.
To remember it and return—
is that not prayer enough?

What more can I say, except
that at his funeral, skydivers
let go his ashes as they fell,

and did you not gasp then,
as I did, in astonishment
at whatever starts as your breath,

but ends in amen, the gritty fineness
of him like stars in morning,
undressed of light, blown away.  

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