Holy Numbers By Raphaela Wade

Holy Numbers

This is the dawning of the age
of panic and barrel-roasted coffee beans.
When the student has surpassed the master
before the bell vibrates the rafters.

“We live in very interesting political times”
you say as you sip a mug of muddy dandelions,
and wipe the crease from your brow.

How many pennies do I have
to swallow to make
America great again?
How many nights should I sleep
on the ground before
I sweat out the Republic?

Let me fuck you until you see stars
and stripes. Let me tease you
with words like “ephemeral.”

Mama told me once about holy numbers.
7 may get you to heaven, but 11 gets you nowhere.

Do you remember when
you were 11, swearing in blood brothers
under solemn bedsheets?
Do you remember every oath
you swore under the sheets?

Dig this riff while you dig your hole.
Don’t question the bullets in the horn
because this cat has got to blow.

So throw out the baby, but seal
the bathwater in a mason jar.

So coat your beard in glitter
before you take up arms.

By Raphaela Wade


I received my MA in Poetry from the University of Chicago, and have since split my time between working in higher ed and travelling, primarily in Latin America. I was raised in a hyper-religious family in a small town in the bible belt, and coming away from that has influenced the way that I view the political landscape and the intersection of cultures. That unique viewpoint is often centered in my work.

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