Some calls require response but not acknowledgement.
The distinction is this: where one is taking place the other must be seen to be.
Acknowledgment is a miracle in a world where no one listens or is heard:
A swarm of locusts for John the Baptist in the staving desert’s heat.
But response is instant and unwilled: what crystal does when struck.
Somewhere a wing turns and the winged women no longer sleeps.
Sweeping rings of orange like pours of paint separating on a cloth
spread east to west with indomitable speed and in the pattern a speckle lifts:
A star set in starlessness lighthouses for those who elsewise couldn’t see.
In waves of aftershock a thread of hair stands out of the broken cityscape.
The dogs can hear their babies crying through the rock and shattered stone.
In hotel rooms we sit alone for hours wishing for company and the cotton falls
of feet round stairheads are the only answer. And so the night elapses.
The shell top of the White House and the Kremlin’s dollhouse walls.
The gardened mosques of Istanbul are spider corpses on their backs.
And Scottish kirks have towers that look like dormant sickbed bells.
The homeless men on the corner have learned to look away from hope.
September showers will arrive and harm and leave without the help
of their begging or their bargaining for the weather maker’s pause.
Because we are already there, there’s no sense to fear becoming lost.
Because they have been answered often, we need not repeat orisons.
The intermission we live in may be the intercession we are looking for.
Mountains that make muscles ache and bone painful from rubbing bone
are themselves a language laid out to read against a paper sky. The ocean
is perhaps one dark hieroglyph inside which ships can journey and succumb.
Gnashing mouths that died in prayer go on moving when blood flow stops.
The snow numbed hands that steepled out of clothes despite the blowing ice
will never cease to hold that attitude, have frozen in uncompromising want.
B.T. Joy is a British poet and short fiction writer living in Glasgow. He has also lived in London, Aberdeen and Heilongjiang, Northern China. His poetry and short fiction has appeared in magazines, journals, anthologies and podcasts worldwide including poetry in Yuan Yang, The Meadow, Toasted Cheese, Numinous: Spiritual Poetry, Presence, Paper Wasp, Bottle Rockets, Mu, Frogpond and The Newtowner, among many others. His debut collection of poetry, Teaching Neruda, was released in 2015 by Popcorn Press and his 2016 collection Body of Poetry is also available through Amazon. He can be reached through his website: http://btj0005uk.wix.com/btjoypoet