“A History of Hosts and Vectors,” poetry by Kristin Abraham

(This will not end well,
they said when it began.
But momentum appreciates
only one way, so any onus
they bore was solely
in the act of throwing
up their hands to lament
the thumb of God, how it
hovers over our heads.
Because no man can own
his sins when the very
world is force majeure
all the way down to its
specks and quarks.)

 

 

Our sun, lost
the same way
we lost lesser stars,
in ash-smother and
post-consumer
excess of absence.
Now we live
with a quickening
new gravity
in our eyes.
Their cellular
coils expand
our pupils like
swallowing,
optic galaxies,
until we’re all
mutation, nothing
but fine-tuned
scenters with
barbed mouths
and taste buds
that hunt.

 

 

(Which means they were
good as God-damned
when, extolling the spirit,
their thumbs smudged
pandemic, blessing each
act of self into minus
unredeemed. Bringing
souls to Christ until all
that remained was earthly
detritus, was the sound
of the unspeakable
not being spoken.)

 

 

For now, we don’t
broach what isn’t
forgotten. Odors of
pestilence, exile.
Science in retrograde.
And the children,
aggrieved at birth
by their only heredity,
a single genetic
memory coded
for the urge
to make us x’s
for eyes, like old-time
cartoons when we die,
when the absence
of God is the brightest
thing, when our fear
is the brightest thing.

 

 

(As with all proper tales,
there came generations
of next and then
after. Yet no one’s
breath hitches
when the end
is already ended,
when there is no equity
in what God sets
adrift. And so
there will never
be beauty, even
with all this
sorrow.)

 

 

***

Kristin Abraham is the author of The Disappearing Cowboy Trick (Horse Less Press, 2013) and two chapbooks: Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus (Subito Press, 2008) and Orange Reminds You of Listening (Elixir Press, 2006). Her poetry and lyric essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Best New Poets 2005, Columbia Poetry Review, LIT, and American Letters & Commentary. She teaches at a community college in Wyoming, and lives in Colorado.

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