where we conclude that we already do not want for anything

the Lord is my shepherd and I do not want / to lie down in your pastures / of fake grass and your chlorinated pools / where the sun beats down on our / languid bodies and we are told / this is good even though / the heat feels like noise and / our thoughts have slowed / like tar

and you have closed / the entrances to the valley / of the shadow of death and / you have told us the shadows / have been banished there is nothing / to see here / and I want to see what that looks like and you say / I am dwelling on the wrong / things why not dwell here

where there is a banquet that we will / take pictures of and post them so / those who admire us and those / whose admiration feels like / spite and those whose spite makes us feel / admired or at least victorious so / they can see it and try to / forget us or talk / about us and surely / goodness and mercy will follow us all / the days of our life just in case / we hold still / long enough / to feel / how much / we miss it

Martine van Bijlert is a poet, novelist and non-fiction writer, who grew up in Iran, lives in the Netherlands and in between worked as an aid worker, researcher and diplomat, mostly in Afghanistan—a country they still closely follow from afar.