Michael Wasson

T H Y   G I F T S,  F O R   W H I C H   [ I   A M ]   A B O U T   T O   [ D E V O U R ]

Bless me, dearest Father, for the sin
                                                                      I was

born with—how I forget
                                                your face, once

I see your flesh-
                                                tinted photograph:

I am your ghost, a blessing

for the damned—a way out
                                         of your life as soon as

the earth opens up

its mouth to let you
                                in. & inside, to carve this

haunt with brighter air
                                                       you are still

breathing—to stay
                                        this alive: so faint

against the wall
                                                               I shiver

in the warmest of rooms.

I appear as a single finger-
                                         print on the lips

of a god betrayed, to smear away
                               what shame I entered

into you those years
               gone. Stare at me like a house

burning in lavender, Father.
                                       Give me your voice

please—for it is

the only gospel I ever had. & never once 

                                              As if this body-

shot & hungered sky was left starred

with countless eyes.


Michael Wasson is the author of Swallowed Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). A 2019 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow and a 2018 NACF National Artist Fellow in Literature, he is from the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho.