she says, that is not God’s, and we approach
a crow ripping the entrails
of a truck-crushed fox, and the crow flees
our wheels, and the wind fills and tests the trees.
She says, I’m afraid I’ve believed
so we climb out,
throw shut the doors,
balance on tracks, huddle like tongues, like teeth
we chatter, we hum hymns, her purple skirts
go stiff with crusts of first frost, howl
the wind, the train, we embrace, the earth shakes,
boxcars bullet past, day eaten by dusk,
one hundred and sixteen we count, the crow
returns itself to beaky work, we call it Eliphaz.
In the book that broke the reader, she says,
the angel swung a sickle
over the curvy earth, curvy steel, then gathered
the vintage, then pitched it
into the great wine press. A small book, she says,
small and compact as a heart, as a trap.
Jesse Nathan, a Sojourners contributing writer, is an editor at McSweeney’s and author of Dinner, a chapbook of poems (Milk Machine). He lives in San Francisco.