Locusts on the Earth

JULY/AUGUST 2013: POETRY

by Tania Runyan

AFTER REVELATION 9

All that grace wasn’t working
anymore, the Kincaid prints

and purpose-driven songs,
kids star-charting memorized verses.

He needed something big, something
like a horse with an exoskeleton

and a supermodel’s hair.
Smoke, breastplates, crowns.

The people clawed the walls of ambulances.
They writhed in hospital hallways

until released back to parking lots
shrilling with yellow-gauze wings.

I thought it a little much, scorpion tails
shooting people in grocery aisles,

knocking them down at bus stops
until they locked themselves inside,

shivering as the hissing shook their windows.
But what did I know? Some of them

began to sing. Some of them collapsed
in prayer to their tormenter.

After five months of venom in their veins,
some of them fell paralyzed in love.

Tania Runyan, from Lindenhurst, Illinois, is the author of Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature. When not writing, editing, or tutoring high school students, she enjoys playing Celtic fiddle and mandolin and getting lost in her garden.