by Chris Haven
It came first to the waters. The shores thicken, nothing like life. Frogs, lice, biting flies.
The buzz then the darkening sky. Bring the children inside, cover their ears. All the
stalks, stripped to dirt. Tomorrow the silt will cling to their bare feet. Trees, blue skies.
Love, joy all around. Boils. Livestock, swollen tongues. Wine. Candy. Fast cars. Smart
phones and apps. Light for three days, so bright that even the roots are lit. Books. Oh, the books. With ideas. A different one to screw into every brain. Arrows, arcing over the
horizon. Chains. Reparations. Cookies. Monsters. Microbes. Wasting disease. Flags. Wind. Time. Are you getting better? Well-wishers. Promotions. Business cards. Deposit slips.
News crawl. Letters of recommendation. I would like to express my condolences. This is
how the sacred text goes, but the interpretations vary. All of them require a heart,
Chris Haven is working on a book-length series about Terrible Emmanuel. Other Emmanuel poems have appeared in journals including Denver Quarterly, North American Review, Hotel Amerika, Atticus Review, FRiGG, Mud Season Review, Poet Lore, and Seneca Review, where they won the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Prize. He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.