Christian Detisch is an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he serves as the lead copy editor of Blackbird. Prior to studying at VCU, he served as the senior managing editor of The Allegheny Review at Allegheny College.
I grew up not once asking about my name—Christian—
my mother’s little Christ, Christ her loving suffering God
with whom she must suffer. Christian, I believe God
wants us to be happy, she said as we clipped the flesh of peonies,
shooed bees from our eyes. Mother, I don’t know if
this vase of flowers is a family. Our sappy shears refused to close.
For all my life I think you have lived riven, & asked
the world around you to be the balm. Your little Christ
must suffer, but live by means of—& not beyond—your tiny cuts of flesh.
The Fire Burns Black
Pile high the black tires. Stack them behind
the chain link fence, mounds high enough to burn
nine hundred tons a day. & toss them
on the conveyor belt, where they will file
into the oven, burn there vermillion,
spume smoke heavier than bodies, coarser
than the rage of a dust devil dancing mad.
Then the cold blue hum of copper wire.
On the bank of French Creek the hellbender,
blind, primordial, slathers itself in mud.
O prophet. We grow silent at your feet.
This is Gehenna, it says. You did not
make this place; it came before you. Fall down,
drink this black water you have been running to.