At Noon, As Dark as Night by Tawni Waters

The photo is you standing,
sweating and startled, set against
a graying sky, your eyes mirroring the ominous clouds.   Agony
skitters over your face like
a thousand invisible ants,
the Africa kind that eat half-dead things alive.
Behind you a church grows from grassy ground.
The needle steeple stabs high, and I think I might cry. Looking
at the cross poised on its point,
I sigh  “This boy is crucified.”
They say Jesus hung for hours, howling “My god, my god,
why have you forsaken me?” Even when you smile, your eyes echo
his screams.  Like a Jesus hanging perpetually above a sagging altar, you too are frozen almost-dead, wanting something
that can only be bought with blood.

Until you,   I  never fantasized
holding a man child, letting him cry until his eyes grew dry and he looked at me, the clouds there parted
like Moses’s Red Sea,
like Jesus’s thorn-strewn hair.

I see your eyes everywhere, and some days, when I turn
the photo on its face ,
they still stare at me
as if I am a neon sign reading,
your eyes pray
to me
begging for salvation.


About Tawni Waters