Audio: Read by the author.
After the killing, evangelist Jim Bakker
saw God in camouflage with a hunting vest
and semiautomatic rifle, and he read
the dream the way some do a murderous
flood or autocrat or anomaly of crows,
as a manifest of blood and righteousness
to fill each eye with its accursed share.
Our Lord wants his teachers to bear arms,
he said to whatever flock remained, now
that prison was behind him, the reckoning
ahead. No doubt he knew a thing or two
of hell, angry in his sleep, not knowing why,
suffering still the disavowal of his peers,
and his poor heart, muscular and blue
with self-abuse, skims a little bitterness off
the top and hides the profits, off book, offshore.
What is any dream if not the brain calling
to another self, unsure who, what exile
of Jerusalem longing to join the others.
The shooter was a loner—they always are—
but to the bullied and confused, he just
might be the one who understands, as well
as any child, what it is to feel unseen,
unheeded, camouflaged in fire and angels.
Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-four books, including Blackout Starlight (LSU/Phillabaum Award), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir/Elixir Book Prize), Dear Reader (Free Verse), Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse), and Words Written Against the Walls of the City (LSU).
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.