Noah

Well, this isn’t exactly the
Garden
of Eden. The slimy puddles
suck my feet like a vengeful
baby at the teat. And the
humidity! And mosquitoes!
Blood
suckers! These three boys
and their spite-filled
wives are no prize,
either. All Adam had to
worry
about was a serpent-stung
woman. His rib. That’s a
joke. Listen to my wife
sometime. The entire angry
Universe is held in her
scowl.
So give Adam a break. But
he didn’t have these boys.
And their wives. Listen to
them whine. That Eve didn’t
have her kids, violated as
they were, until after the
archangel came and tossed
her and Adam out of the
garden on their asses. My
garden
is a swamp. All these ugly,
bloated bodies, stinking to
high heaven, even as the
boys, whining as they go,
stack them for the flames.
Watch where you step. Of
course, that’s always good
advice whenever that
God
is around. We might have
made the ark a home on
land except for all that
shit in the hold. Fuck the
rainbow.

 

Moment

Time: Breakfast.
Book: Bison history.
Place: Timhotel de Louvre.
From: Butcher of hogs and Thamestown.
Tick: Breathe in.
Tock: Breathe out.
Drink: Coffee.
Eat: Croissant.
Remember: The son told of
$12,000 a year spent to
track the underground of
67 years for pain and
glimpse of meaning, of
order, of chaos, of color;
son says cut to $6,000 and
vacation each year in Paris.
To: D’Orsay’s musee.
Directions: Over the Seine to the next.

 

Death of Baby Jesus

Baby Jesus died in my
sister’s arms at the
YMCA in the corner of
a workout room while
his Mary strained,
stretched with others.

Six women, each with
an arm of baby — my
sister touched the three-
week-old on his soft
cheek, bent down to
brush his forehead with
her lips, as many times
with sisters and brothers,
children, nephews, nieces
she did and does.

She looked for out at a
silly girl cartwheeling
past the window and
back at Baby Jesus. She
watched him take a
breath and give up his
ghost.

OK.

Called to his Mary who
wept. Said the baby was
born to die. Doctors told her.

Gentle
police,
young
clerks
crying.
Shushed
them.

OK.

Walked to her car, sat
looking out at the same
silly girl, smoking with
two boys — eternal
cartwheel — and
archangels came,
she cried the tears
of Baby Jesus.

OK.

Drove home.

 

Patrick T. Reardon

Patrick T. Reardon

Patrick T. Reardon is the author of eight books, including Requiem for David, a poetry collection from Silver Birch Press, and Faith Stripped to Its Essence, a literary-religious analysis of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence. He worked for 32 years as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune. His essays and poetry have been published widely in the United States and Europe.

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