Automatic Rapture

Jessica Barksdale

I want it to be quick

and sharp like a vaccine

or a crackling slap in the face.

I want it to shoot

me up before

I have the time

to say goodbye,

express my regrets,

or sign my will.

I want it to be more

thrilling than fluffy clouds

and harps. More

roller coaster

and space shuttle

and less St. Peter.

I don’t want a body

or skin or shape.

I want to be bigger and less than,

able to cover everything

or slip through the eye

of god’s needle,

if god is there at all,

much less sewing.

I want to recline

on the beach of a new moon

and think about nothing,

and then I want to disappear

into the atoms I once

was, all of this happening

so fast, I still think

I’m here typing.


Jessica Barksdale is the author of twelve novels, including Her Daughter’s Eyes and The Instant When Everything Is Perfect. Her stories, poems, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Mason’s Road, The Coachella Review, So to Speak, and Salt Hill Journal. She is a professor of English at Diablo Valley College and teaches online novel writing for UCLA Extension.