When dreams rise from your familial past
of tongue-speakers seared in Holiness
I listen for some sense in the gamboling
vowels and consonants as they hiss
from the headwaters of your lips.
The Pentecostal Spirit consumes you.
Come daybreak, you are drawn and wan,
changed, the way Oklahoma’s red dust
must have stained the hand-spun hems
of dresses worn by the stalk-thin women
you weigh yourself against, reckoning
nightly in your attic glossolalia a faith
that compels you to seek more rousing fires,
first through grace then by sore travails.
Wet your brow. The lenient city admits you now
from off night’s furnace of oil-soaked shale.

Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Adam Houle is a PhD candidate at Texas Tech. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in Cave Wall, Willow Springs, the Best New Poets anthology, and elsewhere. He received an honorable mention from The Atlantic Student Writing Contest and was a finalist for the Arts & Letters Rumi Prize in Poetry. He lives in Lubbock, Texas.