My Lord did you save John Berryman? It's against the rules to know but maybe so are all my questions. Must I praise you for my nerves twisted tight as shirt
hangers, fascia squeezing muscles into atrophy—no doctor can tell me why, no doctor smart as you. If no John, I fear for the rest of us
who make noisy work of our pain, like children sucking on straws. Selfish as a weed, I have to ask: can I be saved if I tell you that Christ too often looks
too calm? Might I climb up, carve a frownier mouth, something more, you know, human?
My Lord I'm no John Berryman, right?
My Lord I'm no John Berryman, right? Sure I live on the knife edge of rage but never howled, delusional, through town. As for booze I'm half the martyr he was, or less, yet
how he stoked with his little bellows the sulking fire of no one understands me. For self-pity we're even. Even this poem, I want to know if you like it, if
it's worthy. At a ceramics studio I saw a novice work a new form, pull a plate from the wet clay ball, dimple the edge and carve circles in the center. Then he smashed
it. Ten thousand before I can fire one. So, Lord, whom did you make and break today?
-- Alex Mouw's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, West Branch, Southern Indiana Review, and elsewhere. He also writes nonfiction and literary criticism, which have appeared in Ruminate and Christianity and Literature, respectively. He lives in Saint Louis.