︎︎︎ Will McCollum

︎ Feb 23, 2023

Creation is groaning with the pains of childbirth.
Nicodemus knew how to decipher exit signs:
when they are green, when they are red.
Nicodemus knew to keep an eye out for closed-circuit
security cameras in the temple court.
Nicodemus knew to protect his signature from the Sanhedrin.

Chalk the sidewalks, all. Strip mall Cantonese menus’
grainy images hold the luminous answer that the time is now—
the time to get back to cash. To stock up on Walmart gift cards.
To use phones as non-phone things. Like as loaves of bread or
as Molotov cocktails. Return to the American hinterland.

Para-doxa, para-doxa. At the height of his ecstasy,
his mother told him that he sounds like Nebuchadnezzar
living in the wild fields like a wild beast.
He went right back upstairs to his room and painted with acrylic
a golden scene in a golden restaurant, the perspectival subject
a big red dot sitting at a vinyl booth.

Pentecostal yellow lines radiating out from the dot.

The muffled beginning of the millenarian end
that is a half-mile-high pillar of Israelite fire.

Outside, the liberal sun on its favorite surface:
the parking lot in the desert, on the earth.

Will McCollum is a PhD student in anthropology/archaeology at the University of Chicago, but he lives in his hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, where he conducts industrial archaeological fieldwork and might eventually write a dissertation. His poetry has been published by Stone of Madness Press, Litbreak Magazine, The Gravity of the Thing, Sobotka Literary Magazine, and is forthcoming in Apocalypse Confidential.