Back to Issue Twenty-Nine.

Plenary Absolution


In the inexcusable distance between
myself & God I built a house, I fenced
my taxes, I filed & folded, I mowed
my forgiveness into a fine fringe, I walled

my will to live with slips of paper, I pre-paid
& pre-checked, I asked God if He had ever
imagined such greens & the TV stuttered
into static, it seemed easy enough so I took it

as a sign that divine silence isn’t the same
as indifference, I put a seed under my tongue
& called it a garden, I knit my nothings
into the lawn & called that spring, I haunted

each river I passed until it stilled into mirror,
I lidded my eyes with pennies each night,
& God said O honey & I said well finally, & when
I told the night to cool it with those darks I saw

the question I had haloed above me, are
you are you are you, I saw the asking was its own
answer, I saw God nod & ask it back to me.

emma bolden

Emma Bolden is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: House Is An Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press) and Maleficae (GenPop Books), and four chapbooks. She received a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Best Small Fictions, and Poetry Daily, as well as such journals as Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Conduit, The Indiana Review, Shenandoah, The Greensboro Review, Feminist Studies, The Pinch, and Guernica. She currently serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Quarterly.


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