John Fenlon Hogan
That Much Further West
If there were no God there would be
no atheists—a small paradox my father
points to fondly and often. Some men’s
whole lives tender into a single sentence.
Others tender no sentence at all. We do
our best to defeat the insatiable inside
of us stretching out like an endless sky
gazed upon from an endless canyon
somewhere west of here. I’ve seen some
shuck introspection like a womb, some
shuck iron, others keep riding from rodeo
to rodeo. What’s weird to me: take away
the cows from the cowboy. He’s still a cowboy.
Take away his horse? You’re left
with a boy. If my saddle bags—slung
over my shoulder—strain their seams
from the volume and heft of my unbelief,
then through my unbelief I must be saved.
John Fenlon Hogan works in commercial real estate and lives in Virginia. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, and West Branch, among others.