STAVING OFF THE RETURN OF JESUS
by Megan Standbrook

Maybe if Baptists had a better sense of humor
they wouldn’t be waiting for the Apocalypse.
A sign, spotted on a long highway in the country of TN:
“Staying in bed all day screaming ‘Oh GOD’ does not constitute going to church.”
So what does? Isn’t kneeling the same thing—folding the body in half?

The same curiosity I held in holy houses as a girl floods me,
now wondering, pausing to genuflect, am I far down enough?
Do I bend my knee to the bottom of the soot floor, all I’m sure of
is keeping my eyes low in meditation.

Women aren’t supposed to be smaller. Smaller than what?
Smaller than a cat call? Maybe smaller than the way an ass is built.
Maybe the way the parenthesis looks like a tidy, closed mouth.

Maybe like mermaids again. Do you like me better with fins for legs? I’m not
saying anything out loud, just writing in cursive, Am I unsmart? Brushing my hair
with a fork. What would Jesus say back to this?:

Sometimes laying down palms is lying down in a man’s bed, strange
waking up there on a Sunday morning. My legs sutured to something
and hands not folded, fingers not crossed, but praying all the same.

 

 


 

 

Megan Standbrook is an associate poetry editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection. She lives and writes in the South.