St. George Slaying the Dragon by Hans von Aachen, 16th century
Every day someone goes to work unwillingly
or loses a job that he or she hated but needed to live—
the strip-mall organic eatery, Paradise Tire & Service—
and every night someone lies down with disappointment
curled around itself at the foot of a futon, stretching
in the folds of the comforter like a portly mouser.
But this morning the moon jousted between clouds,
upper rooms of the atmosphere a knight on horseback.
Then the horse and his knight had to concede something,
first to the blue-black dark and then to the dawnlight.
Then moonset whitened night sky above the Midwest,
and whole cities of plate glass shattered. You could say
a compassionate God must love the dumb shits
because he made so many of them, their glossolalia
having less to do with speaking with tongues of fire
than with the violence of those taught to subjugate.
You could say when all that plate glass shattered,
it was a consequence of the blunders of six billion
whispering the same deathbed prayer of conversion.
Prattling away in Spanish-accented English, an iPhone
sends a single penultimate voicemail into the air. Maybe
you hear: This is Miguel at Paradise Tire & Service—
jour Solara is finished and ready to be picked up…
Roy Bentley’s poems have appeared in the Southern Review, North American Review, Shenandoah, Mid-American Review, Prairie Schooner, American Literary Review, The Journal, New Virginia Review, Laurel Review, Sou’wester and elsewhere.