The Times

by Jessica R., 17

You’re in a church, 
bleeding.
The wound is in your leg, so you’re crawling 
backwards up the aisle. There is a 
murderer stalking over you with a knife in his hands, and a 
crucifix behind you with the Son of God on its shoulders.
Both men are taller than you. 
The question: to which do you 
pray?
Somewhere in a lilac field in Massachusetts, seven 
children birth themselves from barren soil. The sky is gray. They don’t 
look 
at each other, don’t 
look 
at the snake already writhing away through the tall, dead grass.
They don’t 
look 
up. They only 
slouch forwards and 

walk.

New Jersey, USA

Notes from our interns on selecting this piece: I’ve read them several times and I keep being drawn to the vivid and fresh imagery of “The Times.” There’s vulnerability, questioning of faith, what I assume to be evolution. It’s really a very powerful piece. This piece was jaw-dropping. The strength it holds in the limited number of lines is incredible. This presence of religion is really tricky and laced intricately between this man that we see bleeding in the church. The inclusion of the crucifix, the snake resembling the devil, and this notable hunched forward walk (what I took to be evolution) add to the mystery and severity that the readers are taking away from the poem. I think the poet did an amazing job with this piece and I really enjoyed reading it (more than once).