When I was a teen, We’d make out
pretty regularly. The royal We. It’d be
fevers in the summer churches of Michigan.
I’d shackle God. The grass asleep
as if YHWH were mundane, and this
passion of the ghosts that We were
before I got lost in the military
where it ended my belief—the shock
that people in foxholes lose faith
as easily as keys misplaced in couch
hells—and lost a finger, a war wound
too comical to be beautiful. The rock
grows up. The abyss turns into a plumber.
The garden dies of tuberculosis &
the old geezer wishes for mononucleosis,
for monotheism, craves guns for hire
with Mary and Magdalen and Malchus
and the night coming on like horror fog
and lips dried from hot sun, from life’s loss.
Ron Riekki’s non-fiction, fiction, and poetry have been published in Shenandoah, Bellevue Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, and many other literary journals. His books include U.P.: a novel, The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book), and Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Michigan State University Press).