drop some amens

The Holy Barons rumble through
the untended slum-gardens against the highway

and drop payloads.
If the halo-copters hear you scream from downstairs,

you get one from on high, and it makes
a whistle on the way down and

falls against your prayers—
it goes through one girl’s bedroom ceiling

and suddenly her college first-pick
knows how to spell her name,

writes it on a very eager letter to her mother;
it falls over the edge of the general hospital

and my neighbour can breathe without burning
through the bullet wound;

bam over the house on the hill
and she can afford to fix her eye

in Iceland without having to beg;
and bam in the river on the other side

and no more coughs or cholera
in the news the next morning;

and bam wins a granny the lottery one week
so she can keep her lonely son clean;

and bam loses an uncle the lottery the next
so he can keep his lonely heart clean;

and against the stained glass
for more baptisms than burials;

and against the muzzles
of things lost in the street

for less bad news than
boys made new.

I don’t know who calls in the coordinates,
where the map’s pushpin pricks turn into precipitation

but god, look at the damage littering this place.
It’s spare, and rare, but cratering,

changing people’s whole lives
with one whisper of gravity.

I just wish one day one of those
prayer-bombs could fall on me.


Brandon O’Brien

Brandon O’Brien is a writer, performance poet, teaching artist, and game designer from Trinidad and Tobago. His work has been shortlisted for the 2014 and 2015 Small Axe Literary Competitions and the 2020 Ignyte Award for Best in Speculative Poetry, and is published in Uncanny Magazine, Fireside Magazine, Strange Horizons, and New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, among others. He is the former Poetry editor of FIYAH: A Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction. His debut poetry collection, Can You Sign My Tentacle?, available from Interstellar Flight Press, is the winner of the 2022 Elgin Award.

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