By Jessica Comola
Let X stand for God. The one I love, let his name be God. And may we walk a wire taut with black birds. Let the wire snap quick as a switchblade across the back of a field. Where he is angry, where he pulls out a child’s shoulder blade like a bit of grey chicken, let there be a brick on his tongue. Let him smear an X across his chest in mud lie breathless in a field. The one I love, let him be a hare stained pink in the fur. Let him hold still in the long-grass like a railroad crossing. Where there is a brick’s weight, let it be the scream of a red siren. If you will be my Valentine, I will stand naked in the highway and burn pink. A switchblade snaps like a child’s hairclip. Somewhere a hare screams with a human voice. The railroad crawls on all fours. My Valentine holds his cross crossways and the long-grass makes a mud of it. If mud were a tongue we would speak it where the street makes a God at the stoplight. A siren sings through these wires. If the railroad is an integer, let it be a single switchblade. For what he did to a child, let him scream like a stoplight. If I crawl on all fours, let me go crossways. Let X equal Y. The one I love, let his name be God.
(Today’s poem originally appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Jessica Comola currently lives in Oxford, MS where she is an MFA candidate at the University of Mississippi. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly, Redivider, Thrush, Everyday Genius, and Anti-, among others.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is dense like a forest. Alive and full of things you can neither pass through effortlessly nor understand at first glance. Don’t be afraid to spend some time within it. Let the story underneath the story grow roots and take hold. Find your steady ground in its alliteration, then stay a while. You may never leave.
On a personal note, because this series often touches on the personal, as I was preparing today’s post I received word that my MFA Thesis has been approved! I write to you, from this point forward, as Sivan Butler-Rotholz, J.D., M.F.A.
Want to read more by and about Jessica Comola?
“Girl at the End of a Matchstick” in Anti
“Begin Again” in Everyday Genius (click “View PDF”)
“I Saw a Swan Come Out of the Water” and “Hologram” in The Puritan (Canada)
An explanation/exploration of “Hologram” on The Puritan blog