if and only

the city without hesitation
where the forest ends and if
god can only exist in empty
spaces, then what?

ask kay in her final
moment of blindness

ask her again after
her suicide

understand that nothing
you and i do can ever
be defined as love

let autumn leaves spin
gently down into your
river of poisoned blood

let the children you’ve
lost crawl through your
back yard gnawing on
whatever bones they
can find

salvation is nothing any
of us ever approaches
with open eyes

John Sweet, b. 1968, has lived most of his life in rural upstate New York. A believer in “writing as catharsis”, and a searcher for some constantly evolving absolute truth. Most recent collection is approximate wilderness (Flutter Press, 2016).

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