Rain flays the gutters.     God’s hymn
soddens pockets, the hunger lining our shoes.
Rank wind upends the market news. The bank
stays closed. The alphabet soup has no vowels;
grim disease haunts the luncheon bowls.
                    No place is set for please.

                                 Forty days
close over my head
the suck of nowhere and dark, the sadness
of mud smears even the memory of light
the flight of blood in my ears
             plugs my throat
             my bones are lead.
Breath’s last wafer mocks the tongue.
             Heart’s grief will float.
             God’s ears are clean.

I strike for shore, welcome
salt in the throat, the lash of sand.
Stars are netted in the generous palms,
             fished-up souls.
A fire on the beach breaks night.
Broken hands break bread;
             I swallow light.
             Mercy stands.