Lightning Coming Closer All the Time

I can’t tell from here
if the Lord is a sniper
or a drunk guy with a shotgun.

Whether He’s poised with His scalpel
and scrubs or just reaching into
His pickup for a hacksaw.

I see my neighbor, raising a girl
my daughter’s age, check into the hospital
for kidney stones and come home

with stage IV lymphoma.
A friend’s husband, twenty years her senior,
like mine, falls to a heart attack

with a one-way ticket to a nursing home
clutched in its fist. The boy from my son’s school
lies in a coma after taking a baseball

at 100mph to the head—his skull fractured
in precisely the place my son
was twice concussed.

Sometimes, I want to take my fist
to the face of God or duck my head,
but I keep still out here in the open,

humanity hung on me like a metal suit,
dread dripping off me like rain.





Francesca Bell is the author of Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019), a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Julie Suk Award, and What Small Sound (Red Hen Press, 2023). She is the translator of Max Sessner’s collection, Kitchens and Trains, forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2023. Her poems and translations appear in such journals as New Ohio Review, North American Review, Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle.

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