27 August 2008

Kimberly Johnson

[from Kimberly Johnson's A Metaphorical God, 2008]

Sweet Incendiary

In this hot light, the seraphim

might look like anything: juniper
flounced in wind, flashing spoil
of jasper, the dove that flies,

anything with a little
shimmer to it, and some
allegorical precedent.

O for an obvious angel,
face of flame and flaming wings,
and golden dart enflamed to thrust

my breast and thrusting pierce again,
my breast like honey melting
with delicious wounds. Or rather leave

these Golden-age extremities:
give me a shotgun angel
to shuck me in the back

of his chariot and break
for the state line, shack up, rip
the veil and show me the shining

undeniable face of God.
No such luck. No glorious
gristle for my fancies

but what I bring myself. — See
my jerry-built epiphany?
Car battery wired to my tongue

set to switch-on my own shimmer,
the spark like a burning coal,
like honey for sweetness

as I mouth the hallmark motto
of heatstruck martyrs: Lord
let me suffer or let me die.

A Metaphorical God: Poems

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