A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
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 Editions, Hunting Down the Monk (2002), and Refuge (2013).
Copyright 2018 Adrie Kusserow