When love was toppled,
it had been a tower that
humiliated homeless people
sleeping cold along
the sidewalks beneath it.
Angels rode the lightning bolts
and collected the shards of love
in begging bowls.
And so, the poor had glowing, singing alms,
by which to warm their faces, and
from the bowls they unraveled
woolen sweaters, socks,
and found beneath those,
cloying sweet cakes rich with nuts and dates,
and beneath those, there were
love notes bearing tidings of hope,
These marks are the soul’s suppressed anger.
Anger buried me with a blue stripe on white sheet,
trapped me beneath the firmament, then tasted my blood,
Not bitter enough.
To pucker the lips in a retching grimace,
the blood must become gall.
The core of abscesses that lance the whole body
bubble and boil like the smoke from wood stoves
that conceal the horizon,
like my right hand over my eyes,
an ancient Shema.
I love the One who cursed me with Job’s body,
genetic memories that began in Egypt,
when my ancestors seethed with boils,
they were just Egyptian, everyone was Egypt, there,
the old country,
my old skin,
an old, dire prayer.
River LaMer, metamorphosed near the Umpqua River estuary in 2018, is a Disabled Autistic traveler, philosopher, and wounded healer, who creates alternate realities through words and art.