Theodicy

Brandon Courtney

BPR 43 | 2016

Winner of the 2016 Collins Prize

I will open
my mouth

and remember
his words
by speaking
them:

Muhammad
was born
from a blood
clot.

Christ
was born
in a stall
darker than
the inside
of a hive.



You will enter
paradise

deeper
than a bullet,

deeper
than a dull

blade
entering a body



If thinking it
is the same

as pulling
the trigger,

you’ve killed
him a thousand

times—
you’ve scrubbed

more than one
death

from the sleeves
of your uniform.



In the end
Allah will appear

to me as gauze,
suture,

with enough
honey to close

my wounds,
with enough honey

to keep my faith
from bleeding out.