(by Daniel R. Jones)
Outside the slaughterhouse
the cows low out their one-note prayer
begging God to redeem this part of creation.
Miasmatic sky oppresses
trees of the field too weak
to clap their hands.
The sulfur and particulate
from smog and smoke
clog stomatic pores.
Shagbark hickories splay
a myriad of black fingers to the sky,
pleading for vindication.
Fish become flotsam
caracasses float to the surface
in what can’t be mistaken for ascension.
The roiling sea cries out,
“Would that God descend from His heaven
and say again, ‘Be still.'”
And we, the Pestilence,
lacking the mendicancy
of the breast-beating tax collector,
refuse to acknowledge this.
God’s creation? Just collateral damage.
Reprobation? We named it the Fall of Man.