Lay down your life you battered, fragile thing.
What sad architect built you?
Asked a whisper to carry time all this
terrible distance, only to see that it would
carry on without you? Every good miracle
is this way. Messy vessel of defeat,
unstrap your tattered garment,
release your book into the air, unloose
your phantom up to the azure. Long have I been
buried in the bell of your brain, the bell of your
lung, your belly. Long have I longed to ring—
now I am the choir, caught ghost
quaking out of you, trampling your water
to steam and ascending. Don’t you pine for the dark
hallelujah? Haven’t you yearned to trade places
with the prayer—it, sinking into the mud
as your body hurtles up
into the ear of God? Here is the blue
and infinite meadow, guarded by the blue goats
coaxing blue from blue violins, such blue marvels
and more and more—a circle of circles
hums your arrival, great blue
herons laying stars—I bestow on you
such wonder, such impossible delights as these.
Leave all customary sorrow below—lift your
shame to my lips. I receive you, pilgrim,
in all modes of tenderness.
This is how you will appear before me.
This is how you rise into the sweep of my thought.
My sweet speechless perfect, I snap and here you are,
by my side, as I have prayed for, here where
each request has no choice but
be granted. And so you shall be granted,
in the clay of my riverbank, where I will etch
the Word into your brow and call you forth to walk
beside me, that I may walk beside you,
that dizzy, we may travel
to the altar of the other—you, rapt
and dazzled, the traveler, the dancer, and me—
but you know me. You’ve always known me. You’ve loved me
since the moment you got here. The first thing
you did was call out my name.
Clouds cracked pink
with grapefruit guts.
Arm of the ash
at the house.
Something like 600
dwindled now to 30
in the backyard,
a cousin stumbling
lovely through the text.
Little comfort in the words
of the prayer but O
who make the prayer—
a torn heart stitched
of singing bodies,
pumping the blood
of our voices through
& everywhere skin.
JEREMY RADIN is a poet, actor, and teacher. His poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Gulf Coast, Cosmonauts Avenue, Nailed, Sundog Lit, Union Station, Winter Tangerine, Wyvern, and elsewhere. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Slow Dance with Sasquatch (Write Bloody Publishing, 2012) and Dear Sal (not a cult press, 2017). He teaches acting at The Beverly Hills Playhouse in Los Angeles. You may have seen him on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or joyweeping into a pastrami sandwich at Wexler’s Deli. Follow him @germyradin