Jan Davidsz de Heem, “Still Life with a Glass and Oysters” (ca. 1640), oil on wood (image via Irina on Flickr)


he could have walked
on water that’s why
I followed him

up the hill to pick lemons
for our vodka sodas naked
by the window a smoked

city in drought haloed
my body as he came
to me a tongue

of fire a rummage of wind
in the upper bedroom where
I said I will pour out

my spirit upon your flesh
he smiled and said I think
you’ve had too much new wine

then we rose up the dust rose up
to meet a night rain and the room
became rain falling over

something scorched
the lifting steam a hymn
we would step into and become

part of its plainsong rise up
it sang you don’t have to
walk through this world

on your knees
as the words stood up in me
which is why I’ve come to tell you

where I have been and what I have seen
so you could look on me
and not be afraid

*   *   *

Thomas Dooley is the author of Trespass (Harper Perennial, 2014), selected by the National Poetry Series. He is a recipient of a 2017 James Merrill Poetry Fellowship and serves as Poet-in-Residence at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Readers are encouraged to submit 3–5 poems as a PDF to Wendy Xu for consideration at poetry@hyperallergic.com.

The Latest

Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu is the author of the poetry collections Phrasis (Fence, 2017), winner of the 2016 Ottoline Prize, and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013). The recipient...