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                 God's broken little things are children
                                                      Ojo Taiye

How far are we from heaven?
As the crow flies with one broken
wing, as the buckshot rabbit
crawls under the fence leaving
fists of fur and skin on the wire,
as the Angel Mary washes her
hands in a tub of tender milk.

Braised meats sizzle on the curb-
side iron grill; blue-eyed flies swoop

into their scent and are snapped up
by the flames. We have been asked
to walk a mile in a man's shoes,
pick up our sister and wade across
a flooded street, learn who our
neighbor really is when beaten
down and left for dead, by blood,
by titles, by rabid cops, by names

unsought and un-given, by the star-
spangled garage sale of children too

young to speak. Yet we march.
Yet we sing. Yet we stand. Yes,
the flint of our tongues spark fires
that burn through our faces so that
others may see. Yes, we have given
up more than we wish. We are but
dust. We are but wind. We wait
in grief and in hope, in tender fear
and fiercer love, in silence
and in weeping if we must,
we wait for the deaf heavens
to be torn asunder and breathe.

published in Snapdragon Journal, Summer 2021

Patrick Cabello Hansel is the author of the poetry collections "The Devouring Land" (Main Street Rag Publishing) and "Quitting Time" (Atmosphere Press). He has published poems and prose in over 70 journals and received awards from the Loft Literary Center and MN State Art Board.

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