J.L. Wall

What, after all, can we learn about gods
that we haven’t already discovered
and forgotten: their impatient facades,
their sullen, untamed messiahs who shudder
as rivers do, in flux measured against
foreign meters that twist and resist the age.
The divine, like water, asks for no consent.
They bide until the season’s right—and rage.

This cantilevered bridge solved the river
while comfort killed our gods. He stands above
the Ohio and sees a strong, brown muscle.
Drowned souls float on its current, withered
fists, taped and bleeding, drawn from boxing gloves.
They feel his bruises: raging, immortal.


J.L. Wall teaches college writing, most recently at the University of Michigan.  His poetry and essays have appeared in Atlanta Review, First Things, Contrary, Frontier Poetry, Breaking Ground, Hollins Critic, and others.  He also helped cover the 2018 Chicago Cubs for Baseball Prospectus designed teaching resources for the National Yiddish Book Center.

Twitter: @jl_wall