Steven Brown


Not given to dreams, my father,
who loved the world with long teeth
and jawed on wads of grass like a wasp
right up to the end, gave little credence
to a place more perfect than this.

Even as my aunts and cousins
conjured Christ over his bed
and tried to loose the scales
from his eyes, he saw things,
not golden tunnels, just the world
shimmering like dragonflies
above clean water, and beetles
rising from the fields with fire
on their tongues, a pentecost that he
could understand at last.

Outside his window, the pears
were ripe and heaping on the limbs,
the bees gathering like magi
from all corners of the earth.

He didn’t say it. He didn’t have to,
as his body began to mirror
the carpals of a leaf. We prayed
all through the evening hours,
while the beetles rose in pitch,
rebuking our disbelief.