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Sandy Longhorn

BPR 46 | 2019

Winner of the 2019 Collins Prize

We were born to a plain-faced god
and bequeathed a hard faith. No saints
adorned the walls, no relics beyond

a bent blade rusted and a hammer
with a split shaft. We kept our prayers
private, learned not to wait for a miracle,

but to save ourselves. No one else was coming.
No archangelic blaze of light to drive out
the dark, no succor of soft rain after the drought.

We were all we had, in our hand-me-down
sackcloth bleached in the sun. And our hands,
our hands blistered with the weight.

Should I meet my sisters now, years hence
and with my eyes burned out, I’ll know them
by their crooked fingers, their calloused palms.