You sons of snakes, have you got told / to run before you get what’s yours?

Here comes John, clavicle first. Seventeen years old, big head. The starvation round his mouth makes him look like he is always smiling. He points with his finger straight from his voice – his prophecy, accurate or inaccurate, is honest prophecy, which is to say it is descriptive. Aesthetically he might be telling, “this here is the American bullfrog”.

Abruptly John-Baptist stops walking and gets up into the low tree, blue knees hanging. It’s shady in the tree. He holds a balancing tree limb and his walking stick in the same hand. His fingers crawl like unique animals against every important side of the tree and his baton. John prophesies from the tree for a while then sits without speaking, swinging his feet past the air to cool them down.

donatello john

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