Dylan Debelis

A Lama Sits with a Murderer before Execution The two of us sit outside the Oklahoma churchyard,cross-legged in filth. We listen to cardinals tear the crabtree twigs apartand weave a nest inside the belfry. Our eyes are closed.The sun licks our bare shouldersas the heavy wing of night lifts to prayer. We see eternal mysteryrest on the lanterns that lead across the road,to the hospital ward. We feel spirits leave prisoners’ windows,like plastic bags caught in an updraft. We have reverence for the fence poststhat mark the walkway, as we tiptoe around newly opened tulips, to the courtroomand the chair. The Trauma Victim Meditates Solar flares, black holes,ant farms, magnifying glasses,Noah and the Flood. Pop Rocks, the ice cream shopin Burlington, the preschoolsing-a-long. Our aborted baby’s casket buriedat Hart island, the American flaghalf-mast over Potters Field. Leaves turning in New England,sleigh bells in West Texas. Divorce,the odd silence of our walk-in closet,when his finger no longer keepsthe rhythm warm. The rising hum of a swarmof wasps, my fathercleaning out rain gutters. And between the curvesof my breath, I noticedthat it was snowing. Snowing. What a strange thing love isthat it can swallow darkness. Dylan Debelis is a publisher, poet, performer, chaplain, and Buddhist practitioner based out of New York City. A candidate for Unitarian Universalist Ministry, Dylan embodies his faith in praxis through his pastoral care and social justice activism. In sermons, writings, and worship, Dylan weaves grotesque worlds, loving embraces, and an off-kilter wit to lead the audience or congregation in a very unorthodox prayer.