In the Dark Times
I fix a coat from air to clothe my fears,
accept tomorrow will be full of cracks
and their attendant gusts: the roof
over my life may be past repair.
I wait for words
sent out like crows to return, even
if soaked, wings like broken branches.
Buy a stranger a burger. Hand another
paper money. Know they’ll both stomach
I drop each of my hours like a crumb.
I won’t walk this way again. My days
line up like inmates and clap hands.
They clap hands for me,
and I sing.
St. Augustine in Ariel’s Island
He plagiarized a hull, unmoored his eyes
at the dock, tried to read what faith
had nail-scratched on bulkheads.
Taught us coins and boots, six
Hebrew words for lion (kefir, lavi,
layish, shahal, shahatz, also
the one that, starving in its den,
watches the soul). And, unoriginally,
sin. Knew nothing eternal
but had words for it,
his Lord a book having no body
but many mouths. Told us
the spirit is a ship at sail
invisible in fog, the flesh
a skiff’s trace lost to waves. Told us
the storm was near, but that we
had been made ready: shoes
off, pockets emptied, our eyes shut.
Andres Rojas is author of the chapbook Looking for What Isn’t There (Paper Nautilus Press Debut Series Winner, 2019) and the audio-only chapbook The Season of the Dead (EAT Poems, 2016). His poetry has been featured in the Best New Poets series and has appeared in, among others, AGNI, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Massachusetts Review, New England Review, and Poetry Northwest.