For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: John, 5:4 I can’t baptize or immunize you with my nod or smile, passing in this pig-pink rural town, where your skin is as double-take out-of-place as the blood-colored tears on a waxwing’s shoulders. And you don’t need protection to walk here, nor anyone’s approval. But you know, easy as catching a cold or rain on cloudy days, a chance of hate might be in your forecast anywhere you go. And even if justice shines on our back door someday, we’ll still need an umbrella for that rain that falls on only one side of a street, like a wall with loneliness on both.
Richard Levine’s Now in Contest is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. A retired NYC teacher, he is also the author of Richard Levine: Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2019), Contiguous States (Finishing Line Press, 2018), and five chapbooks. He is an Associate Editor of BigCityLit.com, and the recipient of the 2021 Connecticut Poetry Society Award. His review “Poetry for a Pandemic,” appeared in American Book Review, Nov-Dec 2020, and the review “The Spoils of War” is forthcoming. website: richardlevine107.com.