Elegy with Lemon Trees and a Vision of God by Colby Cotton

by JHow on August 11, 2017

in Announcements, Bonus Content, Poetry

Lemon tree and sky

Photo by Rowan Peter

Elegy with Lemon Trees and a Vision of God

It was just as likely you were making love
to God in a long column of shade,
that He drove your skin to bone

in a creek bed when an orgasm ripped
through His body, that you died exchanging
mortar fire with Him on a great plain

in a desert war. I was living in a reality
where He’d call from a payphone and tell me
to turn on the television: you were wrapped

in blue tarpaulin, and I watched the sun destroy
your features. I cannot help this
feeling that He buried you by the lemon trees

in my yard, that when I part the blinds,
you stand in the vein of His massive blue eye—
that if I walked out on a frozen pond

I’d find you under ice with pike flapping
in your jaws. It’s easier to envision
you eating stratosphere, your body

pulled apart in a black hole, or God spreading
your ashes from a crop duster
over the Midwest. When I speak your name

it hangs somewhere strange, where tigresses
have left their stripes in their cages.
Where nitrogen has turned to rain.

Colby Cotton is from a small town in western New York. He is a recent graduate of the MFA writing program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he held the Fred Chappel Fellowship in poetry. A recipient of a Tennessee Williams scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, his work appears or is forthcoming in The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, The Journal, DIAGRAM, and Birmingham Poetry Review, among others.

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