American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin
From Terrance Hayes's Latest Poetry Collection
Our sermon today concerns the dialectic
Blessings in transgression & transcendence.
We’re on the middle floor where the darkness
We bury is equal to the lightness we intend.
We stand in the valley & go to our knees
On the mountain. One rope pulls a body down
And into earth, the other pulls up & after stars.
To be divided is to be multiplied. Let us
Ponder how it is that you & I have remained
Alive. Mississippi & all the seas bound to sky by rain,
The root & reach of all the trees. When the wound
Is deep, the healing is heroic. Suffering and
Ascendance require the same work. Our sermon
Today sets the beauty of sin against the purity of dirt.
From American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. Used with permission of Penguin Books. Copyright © 2018 by Terrance Hayes.