Volume 8, August 2013

Traci BrimhallView Contributor’s Note

Incomplete Address To The Lord

When I found that mass of scales and muscle,
saw one anaconda twist around another, watched
a split tongue flick the air, choosing me, black

as the devil’s own and twice as thick, males coiled
around the female tickling her back with their spurs,
I knew I’d give anything to be her. I felt the pulse

in my eyelid, tasted the ants that paraded over
my plantains at night, drank all the darkness out
of my wife’s breast. Lord, I’d rather be crazy

than broken. The city bore its own children who
crawled from the gutters, their eyes in their pockets
and angels’ ashes in their mouths. They don’t believe

you exist even though they wrap slices of lamb
in the pages of the book you wrote for the illiterate
shepherds. I know you know this. You with your name

on the lips of graceless women. You with your face
tattooed on men’s arms. You who weep fire but never
for the dead. My Lord, I admit it. I let the angel win.

He wrapped himself around me, pinned me
to the riverbed, and I rose up wet, reeking, wearing
my shadow like a dress. When I pressed my chest,

milk bled a halo into the water and vanished.
For an hour I was whole, my heart undressed itself.
Temptation wore me down to my socks and assembled

me back into my old body. I’m still the man you made
in the image of who you used to be, my lover turned back
into my rib, and you who gifted me with a second skin,

I don’t want your inch of flesh, your interdisciplinary
erotica, or the heaven you held to my feet like fire.
I want everyone who comes looking for me to find—