Terrible Emmanuel, Fugitive

The house doesn’t know of the termite. The body doesn’t know its cancer until too late. The upper part of the shoe doesn’t know that the sole is wearing. The garden isn’t sure why it was planted. The tree doesn’t require an affidavit of the wind’s origin to be moved by it. The thorn doesn’t care to know its rose. For a flood wall to hold, sometimes both sides must be flooded. A closed system knows nothing outside of itself. Where light and wind and idea and wing cannot enter and nothing shall depart. Emmanuel knows. He may be a fugitive god. Not knowing can make a god out of anything. ​


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 in Hotel Amerika, interrupture, failbetter, Newfound, and Seneca Review, where they won the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Prize. He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

“Terrible Emmanuel, Fugitive” originally appeared in I Live Here (TLR, Fall 2016)