Approaching Prayer

J. Estanislao Lopez

Into what flesh do the teeth of a nation sink?

Is it the flesh of the spirit pinned to my body

like a sad insect? And why does my laughter

sound like the language of a contract?

Will the forests, as they’re saying,

erode into dunes? Is the night as placental

as I imagine it? What happens in the silence

of a father’s empty promise? Of a Father’s?

In the second it took me to hit the ground,

after my brother pushed me from our roof,

was the look on his face one of regret

or discovery? Does the disambiguation

matter, now? The stars of ahistoricism

burn bright tonight, don’t they, as children

wish upon the burning acres in countries

that their parents mispronounce?

Who will be around to substantiate the past

with all these music legends dying?

God is drunk on human epiphanies again.

There he goes, lobbing them down toward earth —

doesn’t he recognize all the damage he’s doing?

Will he ever explain himself?


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