I. I first saw you on forty-ninth street,
stooping to gather up scraps of scripture
that fell from your mouth when you tried to
wish them away.
You cussed and stuffed them in your pockets,
hiding behind your collar
like an incognito Hebrew prince
when the preacher who haunts fifth and third
tried to make eye contact.
I would have followed you home right then
if the bus stop angel hadn’t told me
to exercise some self-control and bide my time.
Sure enough, two Sundays later you wander
into church with Elijah in your eyes
and Hosea on your lips
and I’m sorry but no one should be allowed
to look that good wearing the stigmata.
II. Mom told me never to date boys in bands
but she was mum on the subject of prophets,
so I paid as much attention to the stardust in your hair
and the tremor of your pretty hands
as I did the message you delivered through tight teeth.
When the congregation demanded your
divinity school degree, your immigration papers,
and church membership,
that little bit of God that lives in my eardrums
started roaring defend, affirm, intercede,
And suddenly I was clutching you,
warding off the dark with my mother’s blood
and the promises of my forefathers
and the damn good Devils advocacy
of a liberal education.
They say I spoke powerful words
not heard since antiquity.
I beg to differ. I only loosed the songbirds Adonai
caged my throat in ages ago, the ones waiting
for the boy with anointing oil in his veins
and light thrumming from his chest.
III. We inhabit the dusky halfway places now,
cultivating the desert of our generation’s soul
like Sarai and Abram did Caanan.
We’ve made our name in enemy-occupied territory
and casting demons out of club kids.
We’ve made a home in the desert, and it suits us here.
You listen to my stories about the boy who would be king,
and I bless you in every tongue I can cobble together.
Words are what I own, what I have to give you,
and they are what protect you when you
stand before the mob.
IV. My boy is a sandstorm and that’s how I like you,
wedged so deep in the nooks and crannies of me
that no scrubbing could rid me of
the bits you leave behind.
They say your girl is a trained falcon,
flying before you to strike down your enemies,
but you and I know better.
Your girl is a mourning dove,
circling and seeking a safe place for us to land,
fetching you olive leaves and other good things
that we can have and build and give to others.
So we will stay in the desert,
drinking deep from the well of each other and
sharing our bed with the visions that come as dreams.
For I was crafted for a creature such as you.
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