You were swimming and riding the waves
when one swell curled over you,
slammed your body to the seafloor,
churned and twisted, unrelenting.
And what you had been avoiding
hauled you out, sand scraping skin
off your face, terrible burn of the salt water.
The shore glinted in the distance
like a memory of childhood.
There were others, sinking all around.
When this happens, as it does,
the thing to remember is not to
struggle, not to pull anyone else
under, when you go under.
Planted by hands that have wielded
bloodied as weapons, the flowers
by priests in the prison yard.
how could they ever care
At night snails move over them
leaving traces on what goes uneaten.
around the bed so the slugs
Nothing can stop what must be seen.
outside again in this life
some will be thinned
Our Father who hath been in hell,
Who swallowed the vinegar without grimace
And bled from the pores as he prayed,
Who saw a cave within a cave and was not afraid
To enter. Across the clear water toward the flames
He stepped through the muck and through the gate,
Vowing to come back and harrow these souls --
Poor fetuses -- like bulbs wintering
in a cellar. Thy kingdom come it will be done.
Until then, give us this day our newly dead.
And forgive us our hungers as we have forgiven
Your open mouth, insatiable as a black hole,
That consumes us in its silence.