Justin Carter


A priest was killed and another critically wounded in an attack at a Catholic church in Phoenix, police said early Thursday.

Tonight, the moon rises
with an extra ash
across its face.

Instead of confession—
Instead of forgiveness,
you give too many

winds & not enough
wings. Wounded once,
twice, forever

this re-injury, forever
your trigger begging
pull & forever

the man pulling.
Have you failed
in death or simply

become part of death?
& the red wardrobe
you gave, this blood

covering, what does
it say about sanctity?
How quiet, this loss

when you’ve grown
to love explosion
& anger. Rifle,

O rifle— you turn
the flesh back
to bread.


Justin Carter is a PhD student at the University of North Texas. The winner of the 2014 Sonora Review Poetry Prize, his poems can be found in The Collagist, Hobart, The Journal, Ninth Letter, & elsewhere. He can be found online at http://justinrcarter.tumblr.com.