Jesus Saves, You Spend
these days studying
Brady Bunch syndication. The television set donated from a church
group you vaguely understand. None of the channels
speaking through. None of the house lights on – saves electricity
in cents. Your body contorted on the couch in a translation of poise,
even though this episode aired last week.
Your three children are socializing spectacularly (you insist). They
walk a mile to school, raise their hands in class sitcom-solemn.
In the audience: Your absentee man, driving an hour away to do
the job you married him to do, pants cuffed. Static on the scene
when a solar flare relocates the satellite, or perhaps something
less dramatic/more if it pleases them. The house is still, unmovable.
You lay your hands on the humming screen.
Step off the tarmac and everywhere is burning. Here, your body turns to salt, buoys a shrimp boat crumpled into a double-stack cheeseburger, finds legs and reconstitutes itself as a mosquito. (Your mother said: Careful, your body is blooming.) The world moving through compound lens, multiplied thousand-fold in low-res television screens and, regardless of the possibilities, they’re all showing football. But still, you’re trying this afterlife, a strip mall stuffed with oversized T-shirts and the shucked skin of straw wrappers.
Rubbed my abdomen on the neutral ground to mark my territory. Lucky to be here, you say, and I want to believe you. What I say mutates out of this mouth and is given a caption, top grade A++. I drink the Gatorade, but I’m not sure it’s working.
Start a new century to a diagnosis that must be inaccurate. Examine for lumps but a live-taped recording reveals clicks instead of elegance, vinyl-etched resistance. So, you insist, this is impossible. You dress in neat, too-large layers of cotton blend: pale pink sweatpants over pale pink from the 80s. Breasts that betray you—what happened to a slow song on the colonnade? Start praying to God, to new gods, to gluten-free diets or whatever they’re selling these days. Pay more to live longer, like purity before Tupperware or the Cold War. Unscrew light bulbs to save money. Replace them with a road trip to Bisbee, the afterglow radiating through your eyelashes. Prepare to leave with singular grace.