A Dashing of Feet Against Stones

For he will command his angels concerning you
     to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
     so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
          —Ps 91:11–121


Rusts the blood, runs off with too much,
this misplacement of trust in one’s
own self-worth. Such confidence kills,
you know—you for whom others’ worst,

dirtiest secrets lie down like
bewitched lovers. Whirlwinds of dust
offering assurance to dust,
how impermanence guts—perverts

those pests who work against death’s touch;
locusts groaning about going
out in the manner a nonesuch
higher power intended. Still,

when it’s ended, it’s ended. Plus,
in the afterlife where devils


tend to end up, what lights torches
and keeps them fed is this hubris
on which you insist. And to hell
with pretending to be modest,

once sin’s breath’s been in the bawdy—
entered through a mouth’s wound torn up
by its kiss, left to manifest—
your unkindness cannot resist

tearing to shreds those hearts courage
never did change from flesh to fists.
A dashing of feet against which
stones tremble—more miserable
than bones your wit shatters—damage
pavements falls litter with angels.

1“The Psalms”, Book IV, Psalm 91, [Verses] 11–12, in “The Hebrew Scriptures Commonly Called the Old Testament: New Revised Standard Version” of The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, published at New York by Oxford University Press in 1989; page 606.