The Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn’t walk on the water by himself. You are expecting his successors to walk on the water. All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.
— Flannery O’Connor, letter to Cecil Dawkins, 9 Dec 58
emily dickinson lives in my overhead light
by Jennifer Chang
The daffodils can go fuck themselves.
I’m tired of their crowds, yellow ranting
about the spastic sun that dines and shines
and shines. How are they any different
from me? I, too, have a big messy head
on a fragile stalk. I spin with the wind.
I flower and don’t apologize. There’s nothing
funny about good weather. O, spring again,
The critics nod. They know the old joy,
that wakeful quotidian, the dark plot
of future growing things, each one
labeled Narcissus nobilis or Jennifer Chang.
If I died falling from a helicopter, then
this would be an important poem. Then
the ex-boyfriends would swim to shore
declaiming their knowledge of my bulbous
youth. O, Flower, one said, why aren’t you
meat? But I won’t be another bashful shank.
The tulips have their nervous joie-de-vivre,
the lilacs their taunt. Fractious petals, stop
interrupting my poem with boring beauty.
All the boys are in the field gnawing raw
bones of ambition and calling it ardor. Who
the hell are they? This is a poem about war.
Joachim Coucke Today I Made Nothing
The day after I turned 18,
I cried into the shoulder of an anonymous fishing rod.
The sky has never said “No,
this is not for you.”