~These poems were selected by assistant editor Clara Jane Hallar.
~This poem previously appeared in The Yale Review (2007).
JESUS TURNS UP IN VAN NUYS, BUT HIS NUMBER IS STILL UNLISTED
I was raptured, temporarily, then recalled
due to a clerical error. There was the office
generated apology, of course, with a cc to God.
Des Moines looks so different to me now. Not nearly
so plural. Apparently I wasn’t missed, but then,
I’ve always been the penguin in the red muffler.
Sure, I want you to notice me, but I still want you
world, I beat my gong with a spent cucumber.
We’re all of us faking it, right? Only the young
don’t know that . . . . which makes them young.
Everything shifts over time. Now they’re saying
filthy is the new dirty. Don’t get me wrong,
I welcome the chance to come clean about my hiccup
with Jesus, but my people have always adored their
secrets, hording the unstutterable, holding their cards
under the table. My grandmother was a Shaker
all her life. She had teeth made from old mah
jongg tiles. Even her husband didn’t know. What
must Jesus think of the news that all these years
he’s been married; his wife, a rehabilitated Bible
whore? Hell, we don’t even know what he looked like.
Maybe dark short, with splayed feet and an eye that
wanders. Christus Domesticus. See them commuting.
“Pick a lane,” he says, “Any lane, I don’t care”
(Mary likes to take her half out of the middle). Afraid
of being left behind, she’s forever offering
to drive, while Jesus leans into the tragic like some reckless
geek magician. Profiled in PEOPLE, they’re
like rock stars on holiday; see them walk, A-framed,
purling their way down Sepulveda, that Picasso body
of hers moving like a crab. He could fix that,
but likes her crooked, pink, & halting.