Sorry I Was Thinking About Myself Instead of Listening to the Sermon


I know too much of him:

Born wrongly,

Born right in his wrongness.


He is not who you think he is:

Uncertainty sounds a lot like wisdom

If you speak slow enough.



Little children come to me.

They ask, “Are you a boy or a girl?”

I ask, “Who do you say that I am?”

They are stunned into silence.


See it’s really not that hard.


I, too, confound at the dinner table:

I say, “This is my blood.

It carries through me ceaseless

Visions of transformation.

This is my body.

I will find peace in the breaking of it.”


But then I look up and they are all asleep.



Puncture Wounds

How vivid the punch of needle through cloth,

as loud as doubt threading faith

when I mailed him my blackest diary and he wrote back,

“There were a few good lines.”


How vivid disappointment,


to go up in a rattling plane when the solid sun goes down

and see for yourself the pinprick symphony of our lives in the dark,


to flash your headlights and see only the size of what you cannot see,

how illumination goes abruptly nowhere.


How vivid the fog,

how vivid the hand that waves it away.


How vivid the species of worry,

the restless legs so vivid,


the collision of truths, the resultant casualties,

the immediate dread of eventualities,


the rubber tug of cello,

the conditional sweetness of onion,


the futile sacrament

(my baptism it rolled right off my forehead),


the perpetual Uhhmmmmm,


and you,

shot in your front yard

collecting the mail which was

mostly bills.



Dana Purser Gary is a poet, musician, and performer based in Nashville. Dana is the recipient of two George A. Mahan Awards for creative writing.

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