Emmanuel Runs

posted Aug 2, 2016

Only body understands body. Emmanuel had no eyes until he had eyes. He sees races between bodies and chuckles. Each body is capable of what it is capable of. Don't they understand this? Sometimes the races are between a body and a body, sometimes between a body and collapse. Emmanuel runs. Foot hits the ground, translates skin to muscle, bone to blood, blood to speed. To run is to learn a pointless language. But all languages are pointless. To run with one wing is a sad salute. I salute nothing. To run is to know what it is not to be a god. All gods are made of jealousy. To run is to know the hard heat of the ground's return. Where has it gone? To run is to lose memory. To run is to be unsure. Who am I? When shall I return? Whom shall I run against? The report of his feet: gunfire to his ears. He pants. He bends, puts his hands on his knees. I wish, he thinks, someone would shoot at me.

Chris Haven is working on a series about Terrible Emmanuel, a cranky, fallible figure who considers himself to be the supreme being. Other Emmanuel poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, Zone 3, Whiskey Island, Hotel Amerika, Poet Lore, interrupture, and Seneca Review, where they won the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Prize.

He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Haven’s poem “Emmanuel Cheats” also appears in this issue.