Zoë Ballering

On the studded metal of something else
you cut stencils with exacto blades,
had the boys hold them steady, swept
the brush along the missing lines—
waving with your widow's peak,
your eyebrows thick as greasepaint.
My name was gunmetal fabric and beaded
teakettles in cream-colored kitchens—
it billowed out from mouths, from harried nurses
whose starch-white uniforms were touched by smoke
which seeped inside to clutch their
bulging curves. And as I sit here watching spring
touch everything outside of me, I think of you
and I, emblazoned and immortal, ponder darker things,
imagining your glory as you fled. They say people watching
went blind and blind people saw the brightness—
you brought sight to the wretched as Jesus did, my new
messiah, framed forever by the heavenly glow
of absolute destruction at your back. You,
the hand of God, rained fire upon the wicked and
burned their silhouettes on stone. Paul, you have
erased more people than have ever lived in Quincy.
It was not the breaking of a city but the scattering
of toothpicks. Men found their mother's heads
like apples in a glutted river. My name was mine.
I am not the Virgin Mary or the fighter plane
that ended worlds, but now I cannot bear
to hear my name—it holds only echoes
of your triumph. You—my son—eclipsed the sun,
burning brighter and more violently,
saving much, ending more
than I can understand.