It is an enduring satisfaction for our species to make little systems and tend to them.

                                                                                                –Jesse Ball


Destiny, protect me from the world.



Men on the pier catch skates in April, the flags

on their coolers billowing in the wind. They keep

buckets of empty fish heads at their feet, hooks


glinting and trembling in the sunlight. Teenagers

stare at their phones and I remind myself they

never cared about fishing. Here then, is my mouth,


moving in prayer, the heretic in me slumped

along the railing, bored, watching a father with

a cigarette dangling from his lips push a stroller


to the end of the pier and show his son the sea

before turning quickly and heading back. Kneel

and you will believe. The skates are young, alien,


mouths gaping as they suffer in the air, slick

bodies curling and unfurling before a boy with

pliers comes to save them. The sun disappears,


as though some dark, heavy lid came down

and sealed itself across the sky. What god

meant when he said I want you alone forever


is I love you, my darling, I want you all to myself.