Two Poems

Shane McCrae



With what     the question is


The question is with what Lord to address You Lord


The question is with how




Lord to address You Lord / Or it     the question is it’s easy to     / Answer and people do


And have and Lord I do dear


You     / But living under




money Lord the words feel each word feels


The instant I    say it feels bought     or feels each


Lord     / Before I’ve said it bought     / And writing I say




writing even this I said before I wrote it down


And said in an     / Empty room feels like money wasted


The question is not who




reads     but by whom     for what


addressing You Lord


am I asking to be bought







The farther Lord away


I drift the more     / I drift and break


up and the more I drift / And break




up Lord the farther


Away I drift the more with more


Violence I strike the water




Lord     the oars splinter


The more with more


violence I strike the water / The more




my arms ache weaken and


The more exhausted I become


The farther out I’m dragged




Lord and the farther out I’m dragged


the / Less I hope    ever to return


The less I hope     ever to return / The less




clearly I see Your hand


in the making of the tide


my God the God




also of the tide


for which     / Dragging me out is incidental


to its constant act of worship
Shane McCrae is the author of Mule, Blood, Forgiveness Forgiveness, and three chapbooks–most recently, Nonfiction. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming, in The Best American Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Fence, LIT, Pleiades, and elsewhere, and he has received a Whiting Writer’s Award and a fellowship from the NEA. He teaches in the brief-residency MFA program at Spalding University.