Three Poems

by Sara Judy

Doubtless Come Again Rejoicing

When my father speaks to God he says,
           the loneliness, the loneliness.

When my father speaks to me he says,
           driving in this part of Saskatchewan, you can go for three hours
           and not see anything.

We are going somewhere together in the car, only glass and road between us
           and prairie; the horizon runs by like a thread.

In the car, my father never refuses a question. So I ask about the angels
           why He made them and what He made them from

           it was His own longing, his loneliness,
but why, my father asks me, closing his eyes for a moment,
           do you think God was so lonely.

My father drives the crumbling asphalt along the field’s edge
           both eyes on the road. I count each passing cloud,
           press my palms together.

o lord, grant us all thy sky,
           and all thy storm clouds,
           and all thy rushing grasses.

In the car my father never refuses a question so I ask,
           what is holier my doubt or
           your devotion and
           can you look at me
           while your eyes are on the road?

No, I never ask him anything. Instead I say to God I say,
           I am very tired of myself.

Over his head, the sky goes glassy yellow, agitated.

By and By the Harvest

As we approach, cars gather graveside,
collect on the grass alongside cotton-wood & poplar,          
thick underbrush & scruff grass.

As we approach, three horses,
each one a different color,
lope in a field, a kilometer away. 

At the graveside, my father, six & a half feet tall,
stands in his funeral jacket, tweed & smoke.
At the wake he will pass the bowl of cigarettes,

He will take the cigarette from the bowl,
and hold it in his hands so as not to break it.
Not to take the cigarette would be to refuse

a gift, a little death given in memory of.
When it is time, he will give the cigarette away,
gently passing from palm to palm, unburned.

I want to take his hand, but I stand back in the grass,
cup my hand around the flame,
& blow it out.

Going Forth With Weeping

Our father, who art    
in a tweed jacket

hallow’d be thy
two litre bottle of soda

& holy holy holy  
the mice in the church basement       

which frighten you     

Lo, tho we drive through the valley
of the shadow

of those who came before us                
the Catholics in their dark robes

crying shame

the pastor with his craggy face
hewing the pews in the long room

sweating and sure

Give us this day our forgiveness
and deliver us from ourselves

for thine is the church bell in the basement
unhung for years

tolling our salvation
            O father, blessed be your many years of toil

SARA JUDY is from the prairie. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Notre Dame, where she studies poetry and religion. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in EcoTheo Review, The LampThe Midwest Review, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @sarajudym.

Featured Photo: “Prairie” by Michael Janke

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