Christopher Newgent, The Lamb

In April, My Son

Comes to us wearing a scarf,
carrying a jar of dead fire flies.
It is morning, he is crying,
“I didn’t know, I didn’t.
I swear,” he cries. “I just
didn’t want to sleep in the dark.”

My son holds the jar out to us;
the three of us stare a long minute
at the translucent bodies, the inky wings.
His mother unscrews the lid, she breathes
a single breath into the jar. One by one,
they flicker to life, they flit from the jar,
they fly like floating away.

Sleeps beneath a tree like a caption,
a dogwood springing into flower—
this explosion of white confetti
captured in a photograph.

The big, clean petals shower down,
grow up around him a cotton moss,
blanket him like fresh wool,
the flecks of a candid memory.


Contrary to popular belief, Christ,
when His bowels opened on the cross,
did not pass
   miracles, nor sweet smelling
loaves of manna. No—

He shat what everyone else shat:
....the bread from supper last,
the fish from lunch,
....the vinegar offered Him,
His broken body,
.........His broken blood.

Do this remembrance
....of Him.

The Lion/The Lamb

I want to live a life that never harms anything anywhere ever.
Some days I’m terrified that I exist at all.

Christopher Newgent lives in Indianapolis. This week for Everyday Genius he has presented two poem series, "The Lion" and today, "The Lamb." Yesterday he featured songs from his old band that resonate with the project, and on Monday he presented cover art drawn by his sister, Laura Relyea. Tune in tomorrow to read Joseph McHugh's amusing and insightful exegesis of Newgent's poetry.