The early morning parking lot of the A.M.E.
church is holy—something of grace made flesh
in the black birds that are grace’s murder.
This is small-town Carolina, the pantheist’s
small-town eye, the nudist coming
to terms with what’s missing.
The first crows are a winged down stratosphere,
halve the sky with wings, what was once skyward.
The reason avoidance is worth the having.
Sparrows at night.
And not just the body. You, having pressed
yourself against me, know its price: doubloons
of pain, prostrate medallions in the in-
finite hulls of the heart,
the galleons that sink to the bottom,
the place where you happen.
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