They said to say goodnight
And not goodbye, unplugged
The TV when it rained. They hid
Money in mattresses
So to sleep on decisions.
Some of their children
Were not their children. Some
Of their parents had no birthdates.
They could sweat a cold out
Of you. They'd wake
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To believe in God is to love
What none can see. Let a lover go,
Let him walk out with the good
Spoons or die
Without a signature, and so much
Remains for scrubbing, for a polish
Cleaner than devotion. Tonight,
God is one spot, and you,
You must be one blind nun. You
Wipe, you rub, but love won’t move.
Raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, Jericho Brown won the 2009 American Book Award for his debut collection Please (New Issues, 2008). He is also the author of The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), which received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.