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Above Rio de Janeiro, a Poem by John C. Mannone

Updated: May 27

Christ the Redeemer, Brasil

Corcovado juts its hunchback granite

from Tijuca Mountains toward heaven.

Solid, unflinching, lifts Cristo Rentor

to God above and to his people below.


I can see a little better—his outstretched

arms, his towering stature piercing the veil

of clouds—that the blur in his eyes is not

one of disappointment but his mercy falling


as gentle rain. The forest never sleeps

and also cries for redemption, the soul

of the Amazon, the trees of life-giving

air. They have also shed their blood


chlorophyll green full of oxygen for us.

Christ the Redeemer is not cross

at us. His continued love is puzzling

but embraced by some. Others don't


yet understand the miracles, a sign

for us, the peculiar ones who find it

easier to believe in ghosts. But who

is to say what is abnormal when we


are blinded by our own conceit?

Who will offer prayer, those words

as if the sweet perfume of flowers?

It doesn't matter because forgiveness

                               precedes us.


John C. Mannone has poems in Artemis, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, and others. He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His full-length collections are Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2022), Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023, nominated for the Weatherford Award), and Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2024). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. A physics professor, he teaches mathematics and creative writing in a Knoxville, Tennessee high school. |


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