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The fountain of youth is injury,

says the coach who is injured

every year. He crawled into

a cave and when he got stuck,

and when he knew no one

could save him, he pulled

toes to shins; passing out

is not passed out. The truth

is the whole, the healing

and the health—none of us

are here without a mother

who can speak of thresholds.

My mind goes limp and the hay

hook catches and the bicep tears;

half-assed is harder. I forgot

deer flies bite to keep their corner

of the pasture, the pain scale

is a sliding scale, any moment

can redefine a ten.

American Faith


Give me Cole and Bierstadt and Church

on a gallery wall, feed Copland

over loudspeakers—cold colors, lush warmth

on the horizon, exceptionalism at its finest;

the real West is savage, doesn't care

if it's beautiful, sits at odds with itself

where grandchildren of frontiersmen live

in poverty but afford a church in every dying town. 

Goal-oriented faith expects a return.

It won't happen to me. Drought, earthquake,

or fire, regular as traffic: this is the rapture—

heaven and earth and nobody is coming

to save us—the gospel of now.



David Richards is a writer and software developer. He lives with his family in the Utah desert. His recent work appears or is forthcoming in Sugar House ReviewNurtureUCity Review, and other publications. You can find him online at

ISSN 2632-4423

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