By Jeanine Walker
Featured art: Designed by Raphael, Printed by Marc Antonio Raymondi
I was eighty-two again
and Jesus came perched like an angel
on top of my fridge, his palms spread open.
Almost old enough to be comfortable going,
I wondered if he had come to take me.
“Are you here for me?” I asked him.
I was eighty-two and my eyesight
was dimming, but I was in good health
for my age. And in my good health
I saw how lovely Jesus was, how physically
lovely, and I felt like kissing
his stomach. Not even where it was whipped
or wounded, or where the vinegar
dripped onto it as it overflowed
from the taunting sponge, but just
his belly, carefully haired, divinely
flat and strong and hungry and disciplined.
May I May I May I, I prayed,
and when finally he said I could
I pulled the stepladder out from under
the sink and gathered myself on top of it.
Then I kissed the stomach of Jesus.
It tasted like the steam that arises
from dry ice. I kept the wind at bay,
but it was difficult to do so, what
with the howling just then
picking up and all.
Jeanine Walker is a recipient of fellowships from Artist Trust and the Jack Straw Cultural Center. She has published poems in Chattahoochee Review, Prairie Schooner, Third Coast, and other journals, and she has a full-length collection forthcoming from Groundhog Poetry Press. She teaches poetry to children and adults in Seattle.
Originally published in NOR 28