__________The poet is in labor.   
______________Denise Levertov

_______I confess the obvious, my inadequacy to translate
famine to bread to feed all the hungry children on earth.
Wish I could invent a happiness machine or dollar tree
blossoming with nontaxable revenue for small businesses.
Wish for a thousand bitcoins, wild doves of aqueous tongues,
non-walled paradises of flora and flame, psalms of untilled
ardor, testimonies on fevered inkstone. Inner voice says,   
Aren’t you asking whether there is a soul
_______________________or whether souls may be saved?

Wish I could do more than arrange inklings into lines,
whisper God’s love into our millennial vanity as labor.
Wish I cobbled heels of solace at funerals for mothers.
In a vision, Jesus is younger than I am now, bleeding
on iron pikes driven to bone. See a letter in the shape
of a T-square, pin on pin. Wonderful how he fulfills
his divine assignment, what he is called to do. Night
drops like a black lily—
_____________________the labor is finished.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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