By Clemonce Heard
North Tulsa, Oklahoma
Ask the lord why he commanded us to turn
all of our grocery stores into churches bestowing
no fishes or loaves, but rather mite-sized wafers
for our faithful migrants & migraineurs waiting
in the rafters of raffles & MLK protest fans,
waiting to be filled with what’s whole & holy,
with a provision that prompts tongues to act
out a quaking that only occurs in starvation.
Ask the lord if a food desert may refer to a fast
a follower has no say in. The devout disciple
led into the wilderness with a Bible & salivation,
halos, hallucinations & hallelujahs, driven to
the drilling rigs’ pinnacle to turn not a stone
into sandwich, not a pit into olive. Ask the lord
if it’s okay to swallow shadow critters bowing
beneath the stones. The worms that are symbols
of both catch & bait, pill bugs that represent
the pea. Lord, I’ve wandered where the chosen
have been pushed hungry as a pack of black
sheep & all I have to show are my tennis shoes
cured with sand. I’m sure that we’re the salt
of the earth because of the flavor that falls from
our flesh when we walk under the sun. The way
our skin sears ’til we disappear. The pews may be
filled with a few but we are mighty. Our stomachs
growl like the lions they are, from when we enter
the sliding doors ’til when we exit the tiled aisles
to broil, praising our lord with the sweetest aroma.
Clemonce Heard's poem, Our Hands Are Bowls of Dust won second place in the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and is featured in Issue 49: Mattering.
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