An excuse for everything from murder
to spontaneous weeping, it comes
with circadian precision. In her
younger days, she didn’t mind so much. Numbed
by the reminder of what she could make,
she felt ripe, poised on the edge of something big.
But lately, the animal within shakes
the bars, picks at the lock, tries to dig
its way out. She will never be pregnant
again, so what is the point? Let it go.
At night, when something clamors in her chest,
let it be her heart, not this bird trapped in its nest.
WHAT YOU OWN
How much easier to live alone,
unfettered by people, surrounded by things
you choose. What you need is what you own.
Get rid of plants, whatever dies, and yes, the phone
book goes. How good it feels to lose the ring.
How much easier. To live alone,
though, takes courage, a nod to what you know
about yourself, which, you fear, is nothing.
You choose. What you need is what you own
up to wanting, and if you have to ask someone
else, you’ll never know when to leave, what to bring.
How much easier to live alone
if no one’s left behind when you’re gone,
it’s true. But still, it’s you who clings.
You choose what you need. Is what you own
now enough? Then why not get it done
already? Or else admit this song you sing
is easier, and live with it. Alone,
you choose what you need, what’s your own.
JESUS ON EARTH
Jesus walks into a bar and orders a beer.
He sits on a stool, sipping the foam
off the top. He’s in no rush to finish,
and the bartender is uncomfortable –
he can’t ignore the stigmata or the fact
that Jesus wears nothing but a loincloth.
He recognizes Jesus, the way we recognize
celebrities everywhere, but he doesn’t want
to act like a groupie. He plays it cool, starts
a tab for Jesus, his way of letting him know
he’s welcome. Jesus orders a second beer.
It’s getting late now, and the regulars
begin to crowd the bar. Soon Jesus is lost
in the fabric of Happy Hour, and the bartender
has to attend to the rest of the customers.
It isn’t until after midnight that he notices
the girl sitting next to Jesus. She’s been here
before, decked out in sequins and spandex,
but tonight, Jesus is buying her drinks.
The bartender wonders if Jesus knows
what he’s getting himself into, but then
he figures that after all he’s been through,
Jesus deserves a break. The girl takes a mirror
out of her bag and checks her makeup.
Jesus, who has never seen a mirror, is fascinated.
He takes it, stares at his reflection, the face
we all know, and wonders how it got there.
He doesn’t notice that all the other men wear
jackets and ties, but when the girl hikes up her dress
to adjust her stockings, he catches a glimpse
of thigh, remembers what it’s like to be a man.