Three Poems by Joseph Mills


Deviant


After dropping acid, Danny danced all night

by himself in the corner of the dining room.

He was there when we went to bed

and when we woke. “I understand it all,”

he said, before collapsing on the couch.

“Everything! I’ve written it down,”

and he had.

He had scribbled revelations

on paper scraps, receipts, bills, the tablecloth.

None of it was legible.

No one liked Danny.

He was overweight and socially awkward.

I don’t know where he got the acid or

if someone slipped it to him as a joke,

but that night gave people something

else to mock him about.

Except for me.

I was jealous. By then I was a veteran

of Bible retreats and religious schools,

and I recognized the beatific when I saw it.

That it came from drugs made no difference;

a tab was a trigger, not a cause. God works

in mysterious ways,

but why Danny? Why

give him such a glimpse?


Whatever happened

to Danny years afterwards – and I don’t know

which is yet another failure – he could say,

“Once I danced literally all night long. Once

I understood the workings of the universe.”

How many of us can say that, even for a moment,

we’ve felt things make sense? How many of us