Dean Rader

                              Will the future talk to God?

                              — Henry, my four-year old son

I know this poem needs to be longer than it is, wiser, too,

and much better with language, but the light is bleeding

out again, and the darkness has wrapped its black bandage

around its own wound which never seems to heal. What I love

about this world is how things stand in for other things — a flag

for an entire country, two fingers for an abstract concept,

a bandage for time’s spool, spool for the circular — because

everything winds into everything else, our experiences a single

suture, even what we’ve forgotten, like meaning, itself an idea

we attach to a word or action, a form of belief in nothing but

correspondence, which makes me wonder about the first words

spoken by God, why he needed them or even needed to speak,

or how thinking, even by a god, happens without language,

or how a god knows to need language without having that

language to speak to its absence. Blood will always bleed

its way through the gauze, and the body will just make more.

The heart will bang its bad monster against your chest, the lungs

will flap their windy wings into the black skies of their

own design. Do you see what I’m saying? I’m talking about

this poem standing in for something, like time or the holy,

and I know it needs to be shorter, but we speak because we lack,

and so I believe the god needed us bad enough to invent

invention, to launch the first arrow into the first heart, to trick us into

believing it stops where it lands, to make us think when we speak

we are not talking to the past or the future but to our own dying voice,

that he and not us made the language that spoke him into being.


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