A Poem by Sjohnna McCray

Sjohnna McCray

Sjohnna McCray

Sjohnna McCray is the author of the poetry collection Rapture, which won the 2015 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. His poems have appeared in numerous journals including the Chicago Quarterly Review, Tin House Online, and the Tahoma Literary Review. He lives in Athens, Georgia and teaches at Georgia Gwinnett College.

Let Heaven Be

So, what now? A parachute of darkness
            unfurling and underneath—the moon, the stars
                        and satellites laid bare, a shift in

understanding between here/there. Maybe,
            dying is a crisp bed sheet, cold and straightened.
                       On your back, the shivery emptiness.

Oblivion.       However, that pinprick
           of a brain asserts itself, holds on
                       to the dwindling light and says: Please,

let heaven be a memory. The one
            on the beach where we stand together
                        like plastic grooms but closer. My hand

pulls you tight. Your pale arms glisten
            but your face is flush. I’ve never seen this look.
                        Happiness staying put. Clouds roll in

over the ocean which is fading
            from cyan to froth to a hint of turquoise.
                       A toddler in bright red shorts is shrieking

behind us at the wetness and persistence
           of the tide—here it comes, there it goes! Her joy
                       is the only sound we hear and all

                                                                     we need to know.