Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Badlands

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Badlands

Article excerpt

All over his body wolves send up a mad

chorus to the moon

seeping green

across his arms and his chest

and where his new liver floats up in him

like a mushroom's flat cap.

"I feel like I'm tripping," he says

at a pitch lower than his wife hears,

and then "and I don't believe in God."

No room in that room.

So much white. So much blue.

The wolves cry the great name

into the hallway where a gurney

rolls up and down the tile

looking for someone to play catch with.

Push the wheels straight, pull the cot-

It's my job to take the heat of belief.

On Wednesday

the nurses line up for ashes

in their white Crocs

and Reeboks. Wolfman

wants God so bad

he tattoos not-God-what seems not-God-

on his skin, wants to tell me

he's afraid, that the room squeezes

time like flexible hose,

that he forgets his wife's voice,

that men come in the night

to argue with him about the nature

of stars. …

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