It’s Not Like Nikola Tesla Knew All of Those People Were Going to Die

Everyone wants to write about god
but no one wants to imagine their god
 
as the finger trembling inside a grenade
pin’s ring or the red vine of blood coughed into a child’s palm
 
while they cradle the head of a dying parent.
Few things are more dangerous than a man
 
who is capable of dividing himself into several men,
each of them with a unique river of desire
 
on their tongues. It is also magic to pray for a daughter
and find yourself with an endless march of boys
 
who all have the smile of a motherfucker who wronged you
and never apologized. No one wants to imagine their god
 
as the knuckles cracking on a father watching their son
picking a good switch from the tree and certainly
 
no one wants to imagine their god as the tree.
Enough with the foolishness of hope and how it bruises
 
the walls of a home where two people sit, stubbornly in love
with the idea of staying. If one must pray, I imagine
 
it is most worthwhile to pray towards endings.
The only difference between sunsets and funerals
 
is whether or not a town mistakes the howls
of a crying woman for madness.
 

Hanif Abdurraqib, "It’s Not Like Nikola Tesla Knew All of Those People Were Going to Die." Copyright © 2018 by Hanif Abdurraqib. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow.
Source: PoetryNow (2018)