Death by Bleeding


You’ve thought of it, but no:

the wrist is a narrow, helpless thing,

and you have traced its rivers

through the skin. All morning

you’ve been flexing your hand,

and you’ve seen in those cords

a dear throat, clearing. How

would you survive the streets

of heaven if your hands dangled

helpless at your sides? This

is how God debases us:

He finds us starving in wilderness

and tosses our bread to the dirt.

And if we try to hide

some of what’s left (you know

His excesses) it turns to a bag

of worms. In Jerusalem

there are trees so old

they have known the brush

of His hem. You picture

a redwood, but no—these

are stunted, twisted things,

curving in on themselves,

a terrified wringing. It’s no stretch

to see yourself on your knees

in heaven’s back alley,

snuffling for manna

like a dog. Should you see Him,

you’d have no defense

but what the trees knew,

a turning inward, a hiding.






Photo by Skånska Matupplevelser


About Author

Karen Craigo teaches English to international students at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. Her work has appeared in the journals Poetry, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol, The MacGuffin, and others. Her chapbook, Stone for an Eye, is part of the Wick Poetry Series.

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