As Jesus

From here I can see your house.
From here the pussy willow
snaps. From here a levee breaks.
Leeward of the cross my mother’s
eating dirt. Joseph pulls her hand away.

I’m not allowed to say Daddy yet.
I play rounds of spades
inside my head. Arimathea
is full of aces. Nickels wedged
in mirrors. The Holy Spirit zooms.
The script cuts out and black.
On the arms of falling
strangers goose bumps rally.

My mother is licking dirt off her palm.
Put your shoulder to the stone.

Last raisins. Hushes fibers.
She sucks dirt from ever knuckle.

Forsaken follows.

Cover of TLR's Spring 2006 issue

Kaethe Schwehn is the author of Tailings: A Memoir and the co-editor of Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts. Her poems and prose can be found in journals such as Crazyhorse, Pleiades, jubilat, Witness, Minnesota Review and the anthology Fiction on a Stick. Schwehn has been the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, a Loft Mentor Series Award, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net Anthology award. She currently teaches creative writing at St. Olaf College and lives in Northfield, Minnesota with her husband and two children.

“As Jesus” was originally featured in TLR Spring 2006.