If I knew that those Sunday-school stories I heard would become
a ball of uncertainty rolling around inside me,
if my parents hadn’t kicked me out for dating the youth pastor wannabe,
and I hadn’t moved in with the married lesbian.
If the married lesbian hadn’t decided to divorce her husband
I wouldn’t have ended up living in Athens, Georgia where
I would, in the span of a week discover that my boyfriend was
cheating on me, miscarry our baby, and get mugged.
If I hadn’t moved in with my ex-boyfriend’s mother after that
and then in with a distant cousin in Milledgeville, Georgia
where I would find my perceptions altered by practicing the loss
of time through smoke and mushrooms, multiple partners
and practicing being Good Enough* at karaoke. Or if my drinking buddy
hadn’t said that the guy running the karaoke night
was gay, so that I challenged — I would bet her a beer that I could
get him in the sack, and if he hadn’t asked for my
number that same night only to tear it up a week later because I turned him
down because I was still only seventeen and wouldn’t be
let into the bar where he wanted to take me dancing. And if the drummer
in the band I sang for hadn’t done twelve shots of white
lightning the following New Year’s and then urinated on me in bed because
he was in diabetic shock, and if I hadn’t covered the shift
delivering pizzas for the girl I worked with, and if I hadn’t gone
to the party, where the guy that ran karaoke
read poetry, and I sang bad imitations of Janis Joplin—
then I wouldn’t have ended up in place of eight month snows,
married ten years to the guy that ran karaoke, and I wouldn’t be watching our
two children recreating games of hopeful daisy chains, and
animal clouds. And if we had chosen any other branch?
* “Good Enough” Sarah McLachlan
** After W.S. Merwin’s “One of the Lives”
We had four
shipped to us in a bunch
from the hatchery. At eight
years old, on a farm
The hatchet went through
the neck of the first, smooth and easy.
Blood spurted out
the body flew to the top
of my mother’s car
parked halfway across the yard.
It flopped and sputtered then suddenly...death
on the cream colored roof.
A bright red gush running down
You can only have one rooster.
Jesus ate my Buick, so I might have to walk
miles to find the parts,
spread like pieces of the shroud,
but then I could reassemble them
and have myself a down-right Holy,
Jesus blessed, touched by the son of God vehicle.
I might have to order the book
on how to reconstruct it
and wear a hazmat suit,
and make my garage a temple
but it would be worth it.
I would build the car that Jesus shat out,
‘blessed divinity” I would call it.
The T.V. crews would show up
and ask me about the Great Prophet,
and how I knew it was him.
I’d sit back and smile:
“Ain’t nobody else could shit a Buick out made a pure gold.”
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