John Paul Davis

At first, I tried. Waited, in church, during the hymns
& the praying, for even a small taste. I would have settled
for just the tickle of God’s vestment against my skin
or the wind filling the air in behind as the Holy Ghost
passed by. But nothing. I thought it must be me.
I prayed for forgiveness, I lay in bed awake hating
myself, begged for the stubbornness to be taken
from me, pleaded for relief, a sign. But it was not me,
there was no great fracture in me to mend,
no ragged wound to suture. Fact is, the sanctuaries
contained only humans & insects, bacteria, lamplight, dust.
God was not even in the music. Like the tale
of the prophet exiled to a cave & he learns God
is not in the thunder or the lightning or the storm
itself. Then he hears a small voice. That was me,
that was my youth, except there was also no small voice,
only the relentless machinery of the world. Nothing
ever spoke to me. No angel bit into me or cauterized
my lips with a red ember. There was no epiphany.
No door finally opening. Nothing knocking
to be let in. No greater, larger, eternal heart
in the darkness against which to hold my heart.

John Paul Davis is a poet, musician and programmer. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Four Way Review, RATTLE, MUZZLE, The Journal, Bennington Review, and Again I Wait For This To Pull Apart. His first collection of poetry, Crown Prince Of Rabbits, was published by Great Weather For Media in 2016. You can find out more about him at