The Body Is a Mosque Borrowed From Heaven

Jonathan Yungkans


The Body Is a Mosque Borrowed From Heaven

after Kaveh Akbar


a church bell rings        I don’t cross myself         don’t lock cross-hairs across my chest
a silent city block        collective back turned        burns enlightenment through closed eyes
church women swore bipolar disorder        meant        two demons pulled back and forth

one on either side        two children        who as they skip        wrap pink and blue ribbons
around a maypole        ribbons whose fabric binds        a garrote        as they choke me
I picture Mecca’s Ka’bah        at the center of myself        a granite cube where faces

bodies        revolve as around a sun        I wash my thoughts in a basin        pour water
until my ablutions        run clear like blood        only genetic markers         for sin
unseen        finches in a rose tree        I’m sorry my insanity         runs down corridors

its feet slapping        on your religion’s floor        it’s still        a faith thing to survive
to walk        on water in the middle of dry land        a crown amid thorns        I imagine
cool limestone        measured underfoot in deep breaths        my infidel’s hajj        what

does it matter        saying I’m mosquechurchtempleshrine        as long as I stay        alive
keep        taking        your meds        one pastor said         until you get        your miracle
heaven glares        vibrates        the devil’s laughter in skateboard wheels        the sun

a white-hot coal        an angel        laid on Jeremiah’s tongue       scorched purity
a mockingbird        sings        something approaching prayer        approaching        quiet
approaching where I can’t        fly       too easy a target        I still don’t cross myself

lack of neighbors’ screams at me        lack of faces        exploding into mine wasn’t
miracle enough        have you lost your faith        just keep it        closer         to my chest
is all        I watch       a Cape Honeysuckle’s orange-red        flames        at my window



Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based poet, photographer and writer and an MFA Poetry candidate at California State University, Long Beach. His work has appeared in Rockvale Review, West Texas Literary Review and other publications. His poetry chapbook, Colors the Thorns Draw, was released by Desert Willow Press in August 2018.



Featured Image: “The Grand Corridors @ Tanjore Brihadeeswara Temple” provided by Vinoth Chandar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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