The National Catholic Review
Willie James King

We are spared nothing Yusef says
in “Landscape for the Disappeared”
and somehow I believe him tonight
as another siren screams through what
might otherwise have been a calm night
on the eve of summer. I lay here
listening to drought’s fingers dig into
the dirt porous as cotton, where the
last of the dandelion leaves are no
longer succulent, and tree frogs cry out
as constant as crickets or cicadas. How
come they aren’t competing? That’s not
what their songs say. If I could touch
air, take its hem into deft fingers and tease
it. If I could lift the lid of this thick swelter.
Fools! I call them: farmers, crying over
failed crops. What about our own skin,
sweating, ready to be razed to rind, hull
of crackling? Now drunks are devouring
Christ, as a scab grows about our city.
And yes, we are spared nothing,
Yusef, not even these lines that say this.

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