Joyce Sutphen
Agape House

For a while we lived in a commune

above a liquor store in Oakland.

Everyone took turns making oatmeal

and toast. We drank powdered milk

from stoneware jugs and spent most

of the day on our knees. In exchange

for a bed, we stuffed envelopes and

folded their newspaper. RIGHT ON:

a raised fist, clenched around a crucifix.

They were radicals who'd seen the light.

Marx, they said, never claimed he came 

to save anyone. They knew their Nietzsche,

they'd been Hari-Krishnad,

electric kool-aid acid tested,

EST'd and LSD'd.

They thought they had been everywhere,

and that they were righteous in coming down

to rest in this valley of sighs,

amidst the murmur of untranslatable tongues.

When we stood in their circle,

our eyes closed in prayer,

we could have been anywhere,

we could have been anyone.

Found In Volume 26, No. 02
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Joyce Sutphen
About the Author

Joyce Sutphen's first collection of poems, Straight Out of View (1995), won the Barnard Women’s Poets Prize. Subsequent collections include Coming Back to the Body (2000), a Minnesota Book Award finalist, Naming the Stars (2004), winner of the Minnesota Book Award, and First Words (2010). She was named Minnesota's Poet Laureate in 2011.