(July 4,1950 / Flint, Michigan)

Bernal Diaz At Prayer Before The Massacre,1519

We sleep in armor again tonight,
Like tipped over beetles.
We roll, we roll,
And the roaches rattle through our limbs
And joints and iron breastplates.

Holy Spirit I lift lead arms,
My broadsword dangles at the cuff.
Even the dew adds weight to me
And the smoke and ashes
Curl propitiation
To strange gods in volcanoes.

To the true God your select ones pray
To discern the difference between
What is rust,
What blood.

When the hour to clamber upward comes,
Grant safe passage to some good place
To look down upon what is ours



(1976)

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