Hoist

The dead
who did not tell
every story
they meant to tell
drift about
murmuring
sounding like
the wind
passing
through leaves.
They hope
the thin strands
of their stories
enter ears.

Paul sits
under a tree
tilting his head
at different
angles until
he catches
the threads
of several stories
that he believes
work like tethers
and will lift him
into heaven
come the day
he dies.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Filaments

An idea turns my head
to the night-dark sky

and I ask, Why is Heaven
placed in all that emptiness?

I lost myself looking up
and fell into simple easy breathing.

I move to relax
under a late Autumn elm tree.

I notice how its slim branches
connect stars

the tips plug into the sky
and channel Heaven into Earth’s soil.

I reach my hand up, fingers spread,
to accomplish the same.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Shelter Receives No One After Five

We stood outside
the First Church of Christ.

It was one of six by that name
in the city.

We wanted sanctuary.
Our pandemic eviction was complete.

No one was home in the church
after dark—tale end of twilight, really.

Our boys and girls
played ring around the rosary—

a game they just made up
while clicking their tongues.

One of the boys argued this building
was the house of God

and God should let us in
to stay dry from the approaching storm.

One of our girls argued
God dwells in Heaven with the angels

and Heaven is in outer space.
She could not name the nearest star.

When the rain started,
one of our girls suggested

Fairies should kidnap all the children
away from us.

The youngest boy started crying.
He suffers from night terrors

and the night closed in
all around him, claws exposed.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Afterlife

It is the matter of heaven.
And what it will be.
Is right now.

For you
whatever you think
is how it will shape itself.

Those people who have returned
from the white tunnel
to hospital beds confirm this.

If you expect family,
family waits for you
with a hug upon arrival.

If you expect rolling hills
with fields and farms—
voila!

Harps and clouds.
Only if you truly desire them.
And wings.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lead

On a string
tied to Lori’s wrist
a bee flies
taut circles.

She winces
from the sting
of critiques
and cast stones.

Those bible thumpers
see only Lori’s placid mask,
not the new hurt
layered upon the old.

She refuses to let her injuries
become her heart.
She fears
the bruised flame’s blue heat.

That evening
Lori frees the bee
and ties her string
to the north star.

Each night thereafter,
the dead locate Lori
and follow the hemp lead
to the heavens.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Heaven On Earth

Paul played baseball.
He did not play a mean game of baseball.
He did not play all out or all in.

Paul played baseball barefoot.
He played the outfield where the clover grew thick.
He played where the bees droned floret to floret.

Paul figured heaven was a continuous ballgame
where men and women players rotated into the lineup
and picnic baskets never emptied.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney