Riley Bounds

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POETRY

Commemoration.

The whole world
tried to find you
by cigarette
light.
The apologists tithed
for an argument,
the pastors
lined up
to get
their wool
sheared.
The priest looked up
and saw blood
on the crucifix
for the first time,
or is it tears?

You can’t leave now,
I’ve finally got
questions.

Did someone ride
with you
out there?
Was the lightning slick?

You shook
the eastern province
when they saw the star
falling up,
and the men
were thrown off
qibla
when the Kaaba
cracked.

A boy found an old hymnal
on the back of the pew,
and it finally made sense
before his mother
told him
not to sing
at funerals.

Buddha dropped by
to let me know
it only felt like pain,
no one needs
a stomach
anyway.

They marked up
your books,
and I can’t help
feeling guilty
when I preach from them
on street corners.

If I see your wife
at the service,
I’ll remind her
that nobility
shares a house
with eternity,
and that you
were the
noblest
of all of
us.

In memory of Nabeel Qureshi.


Dusk Hymn.

In the space between
a risen and set sun
I see Him
dance,
joyful in
the rift
of yesterday
and tomorrow.
Against
the equatorial plane,
I watch Him dance
with the sons
mothers forgot,
watch Him spin
with the girls
fathers lost,
watch Him step
with the untimely
ones
and raise
the little ones
in tiny
flight.
The light
and dusk
canvas Him,
and in
the great contrast
He never casts
a shadow.
In each pirouette
there’s a smile
for each
dancing partner,
special for
them,
innumerable as
the dust
clinging to a
mother horizon.
And in
the semicosmic
movement
He smiles
for me,
the smile
my father
never could
and the smile
my mother
never gave
me.

He waves
me on.
I am
a dancer
now.
He waits
for me,
and for
the first
time,
I find
the feet
to walk.


Riley Boundswork has appeared in Ekstasis Magazine, Amethyst Review (forthcoming), and Saccharine Poetry, among others.  He earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma and is pursuing an M.A. in Philosophy from Talbot School of Theology.  He lives in La Mirada, California.


Photo by Vojtech Okenka on Pexels.com

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