I need to break the association
this first day over forty in January
sun wicking everything orange
and melting snow which had mountained
around Columbus this past year’s been
climbing an unending goal since I gave up
drinking through a Lent that lasts forever
I stopped believing in God early on
and instead chose to believe in sacrifice
first my health now my vice the nights
when I lose myself in another religion
in rapid ascent up blackout mountain
waiting for the harness to snap
(originally published in Edison Literary Review, 2018)
Before you had a name, you were a stranger
searching for one.
Gravel, asphalt, salt, and stone–
I pieced you together, a church from scratch,
your holiness in my uttered breaths
of limestone, mortar, love…
your tall steeple stabbed the sky.
I could hear clouds dissipate,
crows caw and congregate
in our mutual worship of you.
Maybe you never needed a name.
When you vanished, my heart
reconstructed itself with God’s rubble,
compounded from type-two plastic,
Coca-Cola cans, rubber bands…
I never learned your name. With my mouth,
my body aflame, your steeple burned.
Bricks and timber screened
the sky. The smoke and fade–
the gray, the fog– that
was your name.
(originally published in Pudding Magazine, Winter 2016)