Our Lady of Fatima

Max Schleicher

The future is an empty church in West Texas
near the first town south of the Guadalupe Mountains
where the rock road blazes and sky bleaches
and there is the kind of quiet in which faith begins.
An animal faith with soft blades that stands
across the desert and shivers. It has no reason
for survival. It doesn’t survive. Faith like weather,
it shreds the stone fields, gets caught in the wire,
then withdraws as if it only meant to collect
in the brush pile. These are just child-instants
where a landscape breaks open in neglect,
mirroring the geography of bone and lymph.
Stone is left with its animals eating the wind.
I repeat my body in the names of where I’ve been.

space break

A Visitation

All night, I’m visited by mysterious car crashes,
chrome-eyed angels open their accordion voices.
My shoulders tumble brightly while a dry light
powders my tongue. Old angels of wreck arrive
with a bag beating in my lungs. Their fume-
and-drone song expands the walls, throws the room.
I’m thrown through windshield and windshield and streetlamp.

Angels are poor. Arriving with empty hands
they pierce their chests, remove the fiery engine.
They confess, This was yours. We are poor
and only give what we borrow.
I’m given
terrible charge of my momentum. Forced
under wing and glass net to hold the sterling shell,
to crack my chest and wear my burning well.

Max Schleicher works as a digital marketer in Chicago. He can be found @maxschl.