every city: a landscape reigning absolute entropy
& if you ask the children how they are, with a mouth
full of hunger, a thin hand out, they will respond:
we don’t know what’s going on. & perhaps
that is how it should be. but at the expense
of who? my mother never told me what a loaf
of bread & fish could do. my father swished
alcohol in his prayer. only ever spoke to god
that way. told him everything he knows
but what do adults know? my parents
only taught me to go on eating my own
truth: 1 plus 1 is 3. a body can survive
without water. black & brown & trans
lives matter. try to convince me
otherwise. sometimes i think about sur-
rounding the white house with firecrackers
& lighting a match. filling the moat that sur-
rounds the garden with serpents. telling stories
to the cherubim in a dead & confusing language.
throwing stones at anything moving
& made of glass: resistance.
stone: proof. god exists both in stone
& in hand from which the stone is released.
in jordan stones meant miracle. in eden
stones meant protection. today: resistance.
another kind of protection. i am afraid
i have lost sensibility. once, with a barrel
in my mouth & a flower in my breast
pocket, i lost control of myself. screamed
into the air. no one heard me.
one hot saturday in chicago, a child saw
me & i cried. it was a matter of endearment:
the seeing, the crying. he held a small hand
out. asked: please? when a body like your
own enters the space, comfort hovers
like a halo. god, did you intend it this way?
my mother never told me what a loaf of bread
& fish could do. my father swished alcohol
in his prayer. only spoke to god that way.
god, what is a pair of hands unfolding
above a cloud the shape of jerusalem?
& is joy the right emotion
if an apple appears in its palm.
rolls. falls stem first toward
the mouth of a hungry child.
nearly dead. not knowing
what’s going on? he asks:
what all, god, i got to know
for a bite?
Jason Harris is an educator and poet living in Cleveland, OH. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Et Cetera Literary Magazine, Sleeper Service, Winter Tangerine, Riggwelter, 8 Poems Journal, TRACK//FOUR, and The Cerurove. He is the Managing Editor of BARNHOUSE Journal. Find him on social media @j_harriswrites