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
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 Lamp, The Midwest Review, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @sarajudym.
Featured Photo: “Prairie” by Michael Janke