Carbon
by Brady Peterson


It’s easy to assume if you never really grieved
before, then perhaps you never really loved before.
It’s easy to assume such things. A fish swimming
in a cold river. If so, you can only be thankful
in a way not easy to explain.

You’ve read what they say. None of it’s true,
though we all nod and pretend to agree.
The river is still cold, but deeper—no getting
to the bottom of it. There is the mind of God,
the will of God, to wrestle with, if you choose.

The pain of a dislocated hip might offer
some relief—face to face. What is your name—
one who comes behind, heel grabber—
a favorite son sold into bondage—goat’s blood
splattered on a coat.

You mourn for four thousand years—until you drop
acid on a farm in New York—lose your memory
in the mud and rain. Dance half naked in the mud
and rain with a girl calling herself Rachel. Dance half naked
in the mud and rain—what is your name—






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