Once in Baltic, Ohio
I was a shallow girl in the flooding dusk
unaware of the depth of things,
my grandmother floating beside me on the high porch,
the swing chains shiny and creaking
and I heard
the mockingbird’s gutturals in the husky pear
without understanding how a bird
might claim his own solitude
in the vowels of another, and then it happened:
night with all its pins began
pricking the dusk as my grandmother had pricked my belly
as she adjusted the waist of the new dress she was making for me,
every star needled its individual jeer
and the moon poked its curved thorn
until the little pond below became so still
I knew I could climb onto the porch railing
and spiral down into its darkness, its body becoming my body,
and never touch bottom.
It took folding chairs, of course, and a church basement
divided by curtains made by the Ladies Aid out of some sort
of heavy maroon cloth that was on sale at Joanne’s Fabrics,
and Joanne was John’s sister and not a favorite of Jesus
or anyone else, one of those women whose nose
was large and bony, a woman becoming a man
behind black frame glasses before trans anything
and yet that is what we studied—Saul becoming
Paul, lost becoming found, water becoming wine,
booze becoming blood, bread becoming body,
sinners becoming saved—or damned, and always
the word becoming flesh, that Revelation:
And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate
it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey:
and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
Mrs. Hutton made cookies in the shape of Bibles
and sprinkled them with pink sugar that fell between
the thin pages of the New Testament as we ate.
Read four poems by Lois Marie Harrod previously appearing in Terrain.org.
Header photo by Benjamin C, courtesy Pixabay.