Seeing You Even When You’re Gone

Time will bring relief, you all have lied
   –Edna St. Vincent Millay

On the freeway, a cop cruiser pulls beside me in the hiss
of water—In the backseat a young man; the slouch of head,
shoulders the slump of heart on that long ride makes this
dark afternoon sadder than I can nearly bear.

And the Bible verses come as I knew they would,
closing the distance between the uncountable stars
and the bare walls of your cell—you tell me to read
Job, The Psalms.  And why does god not free the imprisoned?

Where is the passage of the father who called the Romans
to take his son?  Where is the absolution for that act? 
Where is the guard who has decided to release this son
to the world?  Tonight, there is no calm to close the gap

between the constellations of my guilt and the open fields
the dog and I walk, under the steel sky that has beat us all day.


Jeff Knorr

Jeff Knorr was the Poet Laureate of Sacramento from 2012-2016 and is the author of the four books of poetry, most recently The Color of a New Country (Mammoth Books). His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Barrow Street, North American Review, Red Rock Review, Fifth Wednesday, The Journal, and Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America (University of Iowa). He lives in Sacramento with his wife.