Not Even These Lines

We are spared nothing Yusef says
in “Landscape for the Disappeared”
and somehow I believe him tonight
as another siren screams through what
might otherwise have been a calm night
on the eve of summer. I lay here
listening to drought’s fingers dig into
the dirt porous as cotton, where the
last of the dandelion leaves are no
longer succulent, and tree frogs cry out
as constant as crickets or cicadas. How
come they aren’t competing? That’s not
what their songs say. If I could touch
air, take its hem into deft fingers and tease
it. If I could lift the lid of this thick swelter.
Fools! I call them: farmers, crying over
failed crops. What about our own skin,
sweating, ready to be razed to rind, hull
of crackling? Now drunks are devouring
Christ, as a scab grows about our city.
And yes, we are spared nothing,
Yusef, not even these lines that say this.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Rescue workers search for survivors in the debris of collapsed buildings Sept. 20 in Mexico City. The magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit Sept. 19 to the southeast of the city, killing hundreds. (CNS photo/Jose Mendez, EPA)
All the dioceses in Mexico were collecting food, water and other necessities for victims of the quakes and were seeking economic support from inside and outside the country.
Catholic News ServiceSeptember 20, 2017
The moment we begin to measure, we know nothing of love, know nothing of God.
Terrance KleinSeptember 20, 2017
There is only so much room—in our houses, in our hearts. At some point, we have got to let go.
Nick Ripatrazone September 20, 2017
The Rev. Carol Howard Merritt says that the image of a God who suffers with us can play a role in helping people recover.
Kaya OakesSeptember 20, 2017