Faith Masks the Absurd

from by Justin Henderson

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My love, dismount your carousel.
Relay your burdens by tomorrow through your estival pastels
collapsing inward on themselves.
By their dissonance set forth.
Return in proper health
Recall the angst of idle hands.
The devil has a friend in you; cold eyes, help me understand.
Where does your vacancy begin?
You're voice is breaking, I should know.
Speak carefully my friend.
And when you're too sick to shrug it off, sit tight and call on me again.

Pack the kids into the car.
Call your adopted father drinking all alone at the bar.
There's a funeral in town; there's a fire in a church--
your mother's not around.
How her dreadful words resound:
"you're ugly when you cry," but thank God she kept you down.
Black carnation on her dress.
Her eyes are blue, her hair is a mess,
and by the boardwalk she resides,
amused by teardrops in the sand,
haunted by the shadow of the tide.
It was tragic in three parts. We sat and told each other lies.

I once counted cars in Abilene
with my back against a rock.
Almost forgot that violent scene--
those headlights cutting through the fog.
Prophecies etched in frozen earth;
I wrote them on your wall.
You told me "faith masks the absurd,"
recited existential verse.
And now I know, but I wish I never learned.


from Emily, released August 17, 2014



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Justin Henderson Portland, Oregon

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