Winter was everything
I could not see. Pinecones

hung perfectly
in unison. They could

not move, could not
speak. I envied

the compass, the lexicon
of the satiable. I saw

mornings as worthy
of trust. I met

a god who unclamped
coin-sized organs

as I slept. I dropped
nickels into the Sunday

offering. I knew Him
as the simple jingle

of coins, the sweet
ruffle of bills. The only

god inside my body
was a small dart I shot

into my reflection. I was
a simple ripple. Every

afternoon, I sifted
nickel from the soil. No

jingle. No jingle. I didn’t
tell anyone

I liked to sing. Everyday
was morning, and I moved

and unmoved in belief,
shuffled like leaves. I didn’t

know I could be more
than a season. Spring signaled

the time to hunt. Sermons began
and eventually ended. Slowly

first and only at night, I began
to kiss the men who waited

patiently in the posters
on my bedroom wall. One day

I shot the blind turkey
in the backyard. My father

smiled wider than I thought
he ever could. I drank

a full canister of river-water
on a dare. This is how

I knew Jesus was still
there: the bird

was dead, my fingernails
stained absolution-red.

Peter LaBerge