the incident with the fire and the burning cross and the lit up Papa Johns


©Annette Messager

©Annette Messager

you drank

too much red

with your mother

at the restaurant.


in the cab, you pray.

rounding 101th and Broadway,

you repent.

i’m so sorry i’m such a sucker for His blood


three / four hours later

the light has yet to change

& rigor mortis sets in.

in front of you,


a cross in a window.

flames on a cross in a window and Jesus,

strung there,

watching you watching Him


the Iranians from the hostel a block away

point their phones to the pizza place,

hoping pixels will confirm for them what Jesus was never able to.

ashamed with their own lack of faith,


they consider throwing out the devices. firemen

tilt their dicks to the storefront,

hoping their jizz

will stop The Second Cumming.


aimless beliefs.

half-hearted attempts 

to silence the one you never knew you loved,

the only one who can make you feel whole, satiated, not finite-


you feel like you are trapped

between two versions of yourself.

the Iranians and the Firemen and then you.

you feel like you are floating,


grabbing / clasping / clawing

at something, some ledge,

some light, maybe.

maybe you sit


on Jesus’ lap and cry,

your face sinking,

dropping / drooping / falling

into his chest, into the fire


and you know that this is rebirth

and you know that you

are infinite



a flash, sudden,


another, and then

millions of phones jammed into all of your holes.


a cold gush of water. so cold,

so naked, so empty & your mother,

standing over you, angry.

‘you were sitting right next to me and then you were gone!’