The Price of the Ticket to Heaven by Raphael Maurice

Stay & hold me & these suffering
hands. For I won’t be long.
I will not remain unread like a book
for God does come & blows the dust
from my back & says goeth into the other
world. Thousands of children are here
& they are good & gleam like ice-cream
& electricity. In their brightness
their progenitors watch from a torn curtain of light
& they too are good but still here
in Heaven they worry
because no one knows what’s coming
not even here where I have come
to sing for static angels
& to destroy the ice chests that trap
their furious wings. I came & went
among men & women.
I saw strange and furious things,
& now like a child I must go
& like a man be silent
& like a woman receive the ghosts
& stand firm like a woman
or a man
& childlike remain tethered to white fences
to my sentinel post
hoping it keeps me here
though I won’t be long
hitched here for a second
just a split second.

Raphael Maurice is a poet, translator, and teacher.  He resides in Washington, MO where the river keeps its secrets.