“And when I go towards you it is with my whole life”—Rainer Maria Rilke

As a deer longs for streams of water, so my heart longs for You,
how the red, wet animal in my chest throbs Your name.

I gather a garland of the day’s eyes, sew a crown of branch and nettle,
bleach clean the antlers of a fallow.

Before ceremony, the church pews sing a language of hunger.
Every beast I’ve slain has come to bear witness,

fill each seat with their mangled bodies. I’m so close to madness,
Father, stretch my hands, guide me towards Your light.

You who knows and whose vast knowing undoes me—
the rush of my blood is You.

The faithful pacing of my lungs is You.
Forfeit my eyes in lace and I’ll still feel You.

Come find me, Baba, in the church of wheat and sunlight.
Before You, I am disciple, bride, guardian of Your perfect name.

My body is merely a tool of execution. Take me as yours,
and I will follow You. O, how possible I feel in Your light.

Illustration: Somnath Bhatt.

I.S. Jones

I.S. Jones is a queer American/Nigerian poet and music journalist. She is a graduate fellow with The Watering Hole and holds fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT Writer's Retreat, and Brooklyn Poets. She is the 2018 winner of the second annual Brittle Paper Award in poetry. In 2016, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. During poetry month (April), I.S. hosts a month-long workshop called The Singing Bullet. She is a book editor with Indolent Books, editor at Voicemail Poems, and freelances for Complex, Earmilk, NBC News Think, Ambrosia for Heads, and others. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Kweli Journal, Winter Tangerine, The Rumpus, The Offing, The Shade Journal, great weather for MEDIA, Anomalous Press, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as the first Kemper K. Knapp University Fellowship recipient. She splits her time between Southern California and New York.