After him, the rain. The desert thirst, countless sands Unfolding a vast dazzling waste, Ripples of wind etched Like lines of the snake On pyramid mountains sinking In golden sun. A naked beaten tree alive— Roots to an unseen spring.
The man clothed in corpse-skin, Bones of holy wandering bleached By burning sky, By purest instinct, in lifeless infinity Moving—eyes beyond the sun. Out of his spirit, the holy flesh seizing The dryness, the final desolation Of a flaccid cry, lost in the howls of wind To burst like a desert flower And echo across the dull plain, the savage wilderness Returning with his life To announce the day. Advance, advance, with your sweet fruit, Your intimate age, your claim. Go down to the river, children, and play (leap in the swollen womb) For the hour of the living water Is in your song. In the waters of the river The path was made. Cup overflowing... Current, wash the stones to sand On the banks by the city: Abraham, you are not alone. Footprints glisten around the tree, dry quickly in the sun. In the waters of the river The path was made. Ligaments to muscles, turning bones With the arc of the sky. Water catching sparks, following the course Of skin to the flow... Beneath the tree, the roots are on fire. Flood the streets of the city, river! Flood-rush the walls, Stream the stairs, Fill basements, barns, Cool whited irons, Sink the temple, fluid ink. The branches have gone to seed— The roots expose their thirst. All things are on fire. Burning, burning The voice from the waste Crying fire... After him, the sky Ripped open— Blood and water, Sweet triumphant wine Flashing the land inebriate, the promised flood. After him, the thunder spoke. After him, the rain.
Simeon Lewis is a graduate of the University of Vermont.