Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts


by Karen Garrison
(Can Anything Good Come out of Nazareth?)

My mother was a preacher’s child
by extraction
by Mississippi tent revival
by sermons and
by fiery furnace and lost lambs in lions’ dens
by sinners in the belly of whales
by women wandering in gardens and
by his other makeshift miracles and
by his design for the threshing the souls from the chaff.

And she was the child fashioned
by his beckoning and his breathless cries and deep utterances
by his whooping and humming about the second coming and
by agape mouths to Agape words and
by his hissing, “Listen. Listen.” and
by his sweet sweat cooled
by way of funeral fans, moving as obedient wings and
by way of white-gloved Hallelujahs and
by way of widow’s mite and collection plates and oil and last hoecake and
by way of prophet and profit
by way of church suppers and fried chicken dinners
by way of far too many legs and breasts and thighs for one man’s lips and
by the marvel of her one egg cake
by his mouthfuls of sugar and his plague of flies
by his itinerant phrases and
by his leavened words from an unleavened Book and
by what keeps catching his eye
by third row, big legs, bejeweled, hobnailed pumps and
by someone’s frailty and someone else’s loneliness and
by someone’s leaving and someone’s cleaving and
by someone supplanting one fire for another and
by way of fire, forking into lightning one late evening
by way of back screen door promises of supposed vespers
by way of whispers and by his swift sword
by genesis and
by revelation and
by lamentations
by way of his own book of Numbers, and who begat whom
by way of every unbridled tongue and
by way of that one night, a particular kind of miracle
by way of the prettiest woman he had ever seen…