Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Adrie Kusserow: Jesus, Immaculee and the Pig

Essex, Vermont

This is where Jesus dumped Immaculee

before wandering off 

to tend another flock of clouds, 

down in the psych ward, clutching her bible and scattered papers, 

preaching to the nurses. 

.

Jesus in his nursing home bathrobe, polyester slippers, 

Jesus whose rings-of-Saturn halo float passively 

from the fridges of all the Congolese in this quaint 

Vermont town. Jesus who for all practical purposes, did nothing

to stop her gang rape in Essex, Vermont 

(instead of the Congo, rape capital of the world), 

.

Yes Jesus gave her a tepid blessing

as she left each day,

her psyche padded like a hockey player,

but when winter got tight and stingy,  

snow tendrils curled around the trailer, 

swallowing it like a great white squid,

Jesus fell asleep in front of the TV,

while her mother prayed and cooked the loso ya boulayi, 

ntaba, mipanzi, makemba et salade

banana, pepper, cassava steam rising, the heat cranked up,

the trailer humid as a jungle, 

Immaculee’s mind loosening enough 

for one memory to squeeze out of its cage,

snorting, then shrieking, a frantic pig squealing in her skull. 

.

For days the pig raced inside her head, shredding raw sirens, while Jesus 

did nothing but smile from his perch in the Lazy Boy, 

like he’d had too much weed, or CBD.

.

Even when the family held hands, prayed the rosary together, Jesus

with his puddle-dull dopey eyes 

draped like a Dali doily over every

refugee couch in that town, Jesus,

with his tapered yellowing fingers, could not catch the pink squealer

screeching, tearing about, shattering teacups, vases

while her brothers suckled on the TV’s Rays.

.

Jesus who comes to her at night, feeling guilty, 

like a cat kneading the lap where it wants to settle. Jesus

who circles around and around, pawing, 

suggesting forgiveness to the three grunting white thugs,

then curls up and closes His eyes, purring

while the pigs roam frantic and wild

and the night skins the moon alive.

~

Come Jesus, wake up,

put your Bed, Bath and Beyondself to rest,

give her something more than the Prodigal Son, 

or the social worker draped in polar fleece

huddled like a wolf outside her door.

.

Enough already, please, Jesus

rise up from your beige Lazy Boy,

put your mangy Old Testament fur on, 

summon the ragged dark clouds

and your fake Game of Thrones sword,

help her pin the squirming pig down, 

help her finally slit the motherfucker’s throat

til the blood blooms relentless and warm 

across the carpet floor.


Adrie Kusserow is a cultural anthropologist who works with Sudanese refugees in trying to build schools in war-worn South Sudan. Currently an associate professor of Cultural Anthropology at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, Kusserow earned her PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University. She is the author of two collections of poetry, both published by BOA EditionsHunting Down the Monk (2002), and Refuge (2013).

.

Copyright 2018 Adrie Kusserow

.

Adrie Kusserow


8 comments on “Adrie Kusserow: Jesus, Immaculee and the Pig

  1. L powell
    December 20, 2018

    Awesome and amazing poem from one of the best poets writing today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karla
    December 20, 2018

    Wow, very powerful and disturbing. Wake up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rob
    December 19, 2018

    Brilliant. Such empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ahenda fredrick
    December 19, 2018

    Wonderful piece….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ahenda fredrick
    December 19, 2018

    Congo the rape capital of the world…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jacquoline Williams
    December 19, 2018

    This is very powerful! Tying the rape, dislocation, and mental challenges together so well. Thank you for your work and your writing. May we all share compassion for others and act to assist where we can. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. glen brown
    December 19, 2018

    Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 19, 2018

      There is a long tradition in Christianity of expressing anger at God for the suffering in this life. Even Jesus Himself made this kind of prayer when he was dying on the cross: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

      Like

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