Paradise Palms

You’ve been there even if you’ve
never been there. You know well
its perfectly manicured
lawns and spacious new homes,
each one slightly different
in keeping with the neighbor-
hood theme. You know the friendly

black man at the gate who smiles
safely as he waves you through.
You recognize the sprinklers,
the golfers, and the always
perfect climate. Your smirk does
not go unnoticed. What you
do not know is that if a

stone could gather its ripples,
tuck each scattered drop of wat-
er neatly back in its place,
and catch that first wind home to
the palm of a young boy’s hand,
it would. We all would kiss the
butts and suck back the ash of

each last cigarette through flared
nostrils, letting them grow out
our lips like stop motion sky-
scrapers, just to bring back light
to the darkest regions of
our x-rayed lungs. We all want
to be born again. Not saved

in a Motel 8 reading
a Gideon Bible born
again but born again to
run bases, kiss girls, grow up,
take stands, hold our wife’s hand, play
with our children before they
leave. The truth is we buy what

what we can to replace what
we can’t. This is as close as
we ever get to those tall
time-locked walls guarded by an
angel’s sword of flame. You’ve been
there even though you’ve never
been there: that lost garden of

memory, myth, and dream where,
beneath the Tree of Life, the
righteous lie naked on
the dewy grass, giggling as
the cool night air tickles their
new bodies, where they feast on
sweet bread from starry heaven.

 

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