Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Old-Time Religion by Beverly A. Jackson

(originally appeared in Dead Mule)


She loves him as only a Christian woman
can love a man; crucifies him with love,
bears witness to love, kills him with devotion.
She is called Jude. She sings
Jesus Loves Me with a power that
promises He'd darn-sight better.

Her husband leaves at midnight.
She turns in her bed, naked & warm,
to hear him at the gate. Outside,
snow thick as white oleo lies
in slabs under moonlight. His cat crawls
from under the truck & ducks inside
for warmth as he slips out to icy air.

“Jason” she cries. His blue eyes flash
fox-like as he bolts, with her in pursuit.
His foot pumps the gas & the old engine
turns over. Doors locked, he shifts into gear.
Across the snow she runs, breasts bobbing,
legs sprinting, moonlit hair flying behind.

His shoe presses the pedal. She leaps
on the running board. Her ravaged face
presses against his window, a gargoyle’s
mask of furious despair. Her mouth makes
"Jasons" in the air; wide toothy soundless
"O"s against the frosty glass. With arms
embracing steel, her body hugs the cab.

When he picks up speed, she screams,
lets go, falls back into the snow,
chest heaving at the moon, & lies waiting
for the cold to melt her rage.
Her sobs assault the quiet, country night,
curses pitch like arrows after a truck
long out of sight & sound. She knows
she's seen the last of it and him.

In the crisp light of morning, freshly bathed,
and smiling with resolve, she takes his cat
to the pound & goes to church.


Beverly A. Jackson lives in the mountains of Asheville where she writes and paints. Her work appears in many online literary venues and in print. Her blog is at www.beverlyajackson.com and her art can be seen at www.artshackstudio.com.

3 comments:

jc said...

Hey Bev,

I loved all of this, but I have to say that first stanza really knocked me on my ass. What a great portrait in such a few words. Really great!!

I'm happy to see that that East Coast air is doing you some good down there. :)

Rusty,

I think it would be cool if you shared what book you sent to people and maybe why you shared that particular one. I know you've really turned me on to some writers that have really changed my life, and I know now why you chose those for me. It would be great to see what you have in mind for others.

I hope Tomi drops something to you. I'll always remember that story about the guy and the chicken, and I think that exemplifies what yer talking about here.

JC

bevjackson said...

Thanks, JC

and thanks, Rusty.

SilverRose said...

that is one GREAT piece of writing!!! absolutely great!!!