Jake Crist


Invisible in shade they dizzy shafts
Of sunlight the oaks let through, in funnel-lifts, 
Like blurred ether or scrambled oxygen. 
From afar they’re chimney smoke in columns; 
Or, miniaturized, Blake’s young sweepers 
Unlocked from their black coffins and leaping, 
Laughing, cavorting, sporting in the wind; 
Or a version of the tree denizened 
With angels Blake saw when he was nine. 

Annunciations happen all the time. 
Encounter plus a posture of consent: 
A messiah might hide in a second spent 
Open-eyed, inclined to occasion it. 
Then again, it might not, though a habit 
Of seraphic vigilance might well be 
It’s own reward. So might the shimmery 
Pillared cloud of a million mating flies 
That one instant overshadows you, then dies. 

Jake Crist lives in Columbus, Ohio, and works at a supportive housing nonprofit. His poems have appeared recently in Poetry, Subtropics, and Threepenny Review.

Image: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Lake Erie HABs, July 2015, photograph.