I Know I’ve Been Changed

Poem by Jason McCall

Even salvation is an act of preying
on the hopeful. How much of your life will you give
over to a god who needs
nothing? Have you thought about dying
for a Father who’s already sacrificed
his most favored son?

The angels in heaven done signed my name

Be honest: your name never mattered
more than when it was on the lips
of a dream. The manager’s message telling you
the job starts on Monday. The first time
you hear your name whispered
in the dark as a shivering prayer
and come closer to knowing why god wants
the world on its knees before he stands up to act.

The angels in heaven done signed my name

The music movies taught me to never sign a contract
I can’t read. History holds all the X’s
that marked my kin for death in Pratt or Heardmont.
And that’s why I could never be baptized.
Because owning a soul damned to hell is still ownership.
Because the whitest angel is still white.

The angels in heaven done signed my name


Jason McCall (@jasonmccall4) holds an MFA from the University of Miami. He is an Alabama native, and he currently teaches at the University of North Alabama. His collections include Two-Face God; Dear Hero; Silver; A Man Ain’t Nothin’; Mother, Less Child; and I Can Explain. He and P.J. Williams are co-editors of It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop

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