Down amongst the pews,
After the unruly brown children
The collapsed heap of stones in tweed
Il Monsignor put it to us hard:
Unsure of our footing, we fled the communion
Suffered not the host
Lipped only the psalms
Receded with closed arms
Was there a thought
Were there dogs of war
Were there horses of mercy
Was he to the sky
Was he till the earth
Was he gilding feathers
Was he filling wallets?
Did they shoot him down
Amongst the reeds and the frogs?
Below las moscas y las estrellas?
And was there a fog undue the hot August
Were they heros?
Was there breath stolen by mosquitoes
Was there breath sipped away by short-breathe’ed stars
Were they drinkers of fevers
He was ordered onto the terrace as so:
was there peace
Was there one who saw the breaths
Was there one saw out the fever that there were mosquitos with gifts
(Did they too escort the hummingbirds’ sips, sups, their
exhalation of whispers of toxic pollens)
Was there one took in the elixir of scorpions named Judas, and
The urine-breath of rattlesnakes
Or a ragged hummingbird named Icarus?
Would he accept every gift, offering?
Would he like the swallow, en-venom himself in shale, scrub and cedar?
Would he see the venom born of threads of light
And doze in its relentless, in its novice, in its hum
Will he lay on his back among the reeds, the stalks
Will he drink the water, the muddy water and
Wipe his brow only with cattails, and
Eat only speargrass, and
Bathe only in nettles, and
Glare the water moccasin, and say:
Will he recline in the reeds, and
Exhale the children we were, and
Exhale the children we would have, and
Those that died in our place
Will he drink our fevers