He uproots teeth primordial in nature and that eat his soul
with appetite the size of mercenary forces plundering a city

whose inhabitants do not fight back because most of them
are women, children, and animals that creep on all fours.

He knows of a city not spared and is without name, unlike Nineveh,
whose repentant king decreed:

Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth,
and they shall cry mightily to God.

He thinks of what to do but knows that he is not the prophet
Jonah and therefore lives a life absent of divine interventions.

Yet he wallows like Jonah when swallowed by the whale of life.

A city stands in the far regions of his soul, beckoning the presence
of creatures clothed with sackcloth.

Elvis O. Alves, a hospital chaplain, teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Image: New York City skyline, santi_madrid /

Have Something to Say?

Add or Read Comments on
Launch Comments
By commenting here, I agree to abide by the Sojourners Comment Community Covenant guidelines