by Christian Anton Gerard
God says words in Night that Night don’t know
how to hold so it gives’em to me. I’m like, Night,
what do you think’s in me can hold anymore or
less than what it takes to lie here holding her
half wishing she’d wake and make words in you
you’d give to God cause only God and her and me
know how to hold what Day says can’t be said
in day. Can’t much fault Night though. I mean
it ain’t just me and her and God with the words
and sometimes it ain’t even us three. Mostly
it’s me feigning lonely when her and God are
here holding me. Prolly I’m what Night can’t
say or won’t hold, cause Night don’t want to
be witness to what God only knows about me.
Spare and a Jack and Daylight Going Down
Sunset late last night. Sorta looked like
little crosses coming down the tracks.
Don’t God show up at the damndest times.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost. You ever say my name out loud?
You ever feel like even your out-of-body
minutes are looking right at you, like
you’re calling you for a tow, like you been
pushing your truck down the same stretch
so long you’re just gonna leave it all there?
Don’t hear folks say rust and to the ground
like ashes to ashes. You ever look at your hands?
What’ll they hold last?
Them and some nights seem heavy as light.
Devil-May-Care, adj. and n.
Prolly get the fly one in twenty times. God damn, it
feels like redemption, them wings buzzing with fight
against this skin sick of swatting, impulsive as a kid
near a lake and a pile of rocks. There’s a way to know
what it’s like to be saved or at least what it’s like
to not be all worried about not being saved. Ladies
in church don’t fan cause it’s hot, they fan cause
flies are what the preacher’s trying to say’s a snake.
The Devil ain’t trying to sneak up on nobody.
The Devil’s all over the body and the blood and
the prayers I sneak about everything I sneak prayers about.
I stopped asking for what I think oughta go down
a hundred miles back. Not cause I’m all kumbaya, but
look: bass jump like hearts and pull flies out of thin air.
CHRISTIAN ANTON GERARD is a woodworker, a poetry editor at 3Elements Literary Review, and the author of Holdfast (C&R Press) and Wilmot Here, Collect for Stella (WordTech). He’s received Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships, the Iron Horse Literary Review’s Discovered Voices Award, and he was a 2017 Best of the Net finalist. His work appears in places such as, The Rumpus, Post Road, The Adroit Journal, Diode, Ruminate, and Tupelo Quarterly. He’s also an associate professor in the creative writing program at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.
Featured Photo: “Bristlecone Pine at Moon Rise” by Jeff Sullivan