If the heart is a temple,
each statue will be broken.
But I have practiced idolatry:
loved the creature more than
the creator, whom I can’t see.
There’s a hole where the sun
should be. It has entered me,
along with the cloud and river.
I cannot remember a time when I was not chosen last.
That and the great, timeless subjects: music, weather, war.
Wounds are openings through which presence shines through.
The child in the doll, Christ in the wafer, the ocean in a droplet.
This is a torn map of the forsaken world.
There are lines even wolves cannot cross.
Every voice an epitaph, then a little tune
from the neighbor’s garden apartment
suggesting a rondo, or circle of fifths.
Plato said the soul is a perfect circle.
In this interview, VIRGINIA KONCHAN talks with NATHAN McCLAIN about his second full-length collection, Previously Owned. Touching on process and craft, literary influence, racial justice, and faith, this rich conversation celebrates the range of McClain’s poetry and the sense of history and place in his work.
Finding One’s Way Through Bewilderment: Virginia Konchan interviews Nathan McClain
Nothing is analogous to God.
In order to strike, a cobra also needs
to recoil. When it comes to vice
and juridical proceedings, I abstain.
All good things, and strokes of bad luck,
happen in threes, and so let it be this way
with us: from lust, to neutrality, to disgust.
Issue 17 is almost here! Subscribe by March 31st to get your copy, then kick off the weekend with a book recommendation from one of our Issue 17 contributors. This month, our contributors are taking us on inventive narrative journeys across all seven continents and through all four corners of consciousness.