In the Life Just Before This One
There you are, waiting
             inside this lost midnight—its blue
      of moonlight scraped
                   to your tongue. Remember
how sweet
                          the world is with you here
learning to walk again. You boy—
       you broken animal
                                 I gather in my arms
like the dawn I pray
                          for—to come. It is you
             & only you
                   who no longer needs to be
afraid: you are home again.
                          Take my hands & know
the ash of centuries left between us. Say it: You
       American. Say it like a country
              learning the language of its god-
awful ghosts. Say how this—
                            & all that we took—promised
to return us to life.

Every Angel Is Terrifying
I come to terms in these terms—
I lie awake in the middle of a shredded meadow of now abandoned dirt—
this is the kingdom they say so find your bones in the wreckage & watch them—
the air of this land stipulates a language across my tongue—
ratify these ribs into nothing but acres of good god bless America
my mother is in her room dreaming of planting His hands in the dirt—
ash begins to fall around me & tangles in my eyelashes like forgotten snow—
a vein throbs in my neck & He melts to the shadow held under my body—
condition 1. written across the mirror of an abandoned childhood—
another numbered condition eating itself into a sentence blinks into view—
I’ve been dead for years is all I hear as autumn leaves crackle in their memory of daylight—
His bright skin is a map shrinking 90% & cutting under my fingernails—
a gunshot hungering for my life is the sound of those walls when I cry with the lights off—
like my mother never said: Go weep in the dark & disappear with our ghosts
but this is the clearing where we lit the land aflame & stood in His shadow—
to the place of beginning is a term that sets me to erase this terrible body—
this failed autumn where every leaf trembles & leaps—
lifting into the branches of the naked aspen in our front yard is a boy once called my son
I stare long enough to carve a moon from this night sky of cricket song—
a single term remains after years of never returning home—
I cannot read it anymore—
in testimony whereof the years enter me & promise me flesh
I never once understood what I was in the face of Him &—
how all of this remains still—
light years away—