A new poem by Cory Lavender

Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. - Jonah 4:3

For Uncle Arnold Who Died and Missed the End of the World

Cold scrapes skin. Snowflakes graze the twilight,
feathers of an errant dove—soapy wafers, the Light,
dandruff descends from a thorn-torn scalp. Derelict angels,
we all fall down on this rubbish heap of ashes: a body’s weather.

I pry thick Baptist doors to enter this sacred vault,
brush snow from stormy locks, shut the hinged thing behind me,
sight a prized bird in the nick, star-sized against night’s wet pitch.
Grandpa speaks the Bible from on high. Scraps drift
from fists to spirit’s fire. Backdraft—think:

someday this’ll all be under water, maybe ice. Oceans encroach.
There’ll be fewer islands, no rainbow. This ribbed sanctum
the whale that swallowed Jonah whole, pinnacles and spires
the recognizable spray splashes above the flood line for a while.