The Neighbors Invite Us To Church
and lest we forget the petrified
look on my face the downtown
sprinklers ajazz all around me, my son
more abuzz than June
on the concrete,
let us conjure the fear that freckled my face that day.
How many of us crumple
as if God were a gust that could knock us down
with an accident of touch?
I am not sure
I want my son to see that side of Him
– his feet tucked beneath a pew,
his tongue tucked beneath a hymn –
when right now God is everything.
I still want him
to feel the thorn glut his forehead to stich his skin
nail-numb to loop his mouth around
the language of crucifixion
but at what cost the blazer buried
prayer the pulpit plunk resounding
louder than the robin
beak drilling song into air?
My son’s face puddles in the fountain’s reflection
a trillion versions of him
blend and dreg.
I nod politely and say
I will never be ready to give religion
let God be
a lily pad instead
a pulse on the water
a point of departure
: a green without end.
|Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.|
Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.