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.
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 Review, Nurture, UCity Review, and other publications. You can find him online at davidrichardswrites.com
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