In Response to Psalm 91

As a winter wren,

who is of the air,

pinioned in spruce root

in the Very Shadow of Very Shadows.


The folded blanket earth

is finished and cornered and empty.


The tobacco men in grey

and in towers

under whom

my grandmother’s throat

like sugarcane



The pornographers needling with

fat fingers

salt into the gardens of the temple

exhale across generations

handcuffs of bone china


The schemers of low spectacle

pruning good language

away from understanding

like spoiled plums


The seven times seventy

abominations of desolation

crowned in laurel

and haunting oblivion


Are finished and cornered and empty.


The hearts beating themselves sick

swaddled in the black of the pocket

of the emperor’s new robes


will skip about

like calves


Man, who is of the earth,

Will terrify no more.


—Brennan Black

A response to Psalm 91

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