See the Marquee

Original Text: 

Shane Neilson. On Shaving Off His Face. Erin, Ontario: The Porcupine's Quill. 2016.

                   The most characteristic of all the elements of the conversion
                   crisis… is the ecstasy of happiness produced.
                   -William James
1I said, don’t let him die, and I, I.
2I will. I will change and become like the sky:
3open, prismatic, where thunder and white
4border incredible blue. I’ll hold him and know
5that I owe you. Belief is to understand
6the recast plea: me, me, old family trees,
7church keys, locks, fever debris.
8You gave him reprieve, he stopped falling free.
9What ecstasy this? I am left with I, a copy of me,
10I sit in the churches and see the marquee:
11a sick bleeding son, the revenant trustee.
12I hold him now. Glory to God in the highest
13and peace to his people on earth.
14I keep the bargain like faith keeps me: angry,
15small, held inside fathomless walls,
16supreme sky that widens past the human gift:
17give away, take away, what we want, this.
RPO poem Editors: 
Jim Johnstone
RPO Edition: 
2016
Special Copyright: 

Poem used with permission of the author.