633 Readings


From the Baptist station static blurs the F.M. signal
distant and alien, almost unheard in certain inland huts
and abandoned quarries, but still comes the first word
of the trident-guided blast, the manic gale and monsoon,
the fomented gloom in the name of Cain, silver-haired
and spiked in the eye, cauterized and clutching
undertow rush, the brimstone storm
with its starved mouth jawing the reef rock
brittle and bringing the ocean-boulders to dust,
the bleak-eyed thing streaking to the deadened end
of the sky, horizon’s swelling fade, the knife-tipped
rogue wave, cut from the stone-money pass of Yap,
or could it be Guam the word says, the sin-rich strip,
the Hilton-high plague thumping a plaqued and salted heart,
ghosted to life like some secondhand nuke
or hydrogen-shroom, or slit from the crumbled condo
walls, pressed and tossed, tunneled to Saipan’s busted sewers
and overgrown bunkers, plunging and glowing with the half-dead
glittering lights, trenched from plate to plate in the under-earth
slush, the magmatic pulse pouring a beat from the broken surface
to the sea floor dark. The word keeps coming. In its warped loop
the word rings, and there’s a strange chill, a muggy film
that hangs green and loosens the knots on the bamboo beams
holding the huts to the ground. And the road brims
with believers, or men wanting to believe
in whatever prayer stalls the boats, whatever clears the night
of a warring moon jarring the sea free.
Posted 06/16/12
Originally appeared in Notre Dame Review
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