On River Road

by Emily Green
the baptist church is a big brick building                 as square as
god’s jaw you sit there wondering
if lilac looked any good on you and no                      one mentions Lilith the cobwebbed
vase     of fake                   chrysanthemum the preacher man is sweet
lipping about       Lazarus how does it feel to be the ground
beneath               the dead                                  between the clouds the sun leaks
god’s love or his wrath      how do we cling to the old rugged cross crows
the neighborhood drunk                your heavenly husband
Mrs. Blake’s hat is               different every Sunday changes                   like the songs on the gospel radio
       your husband died
         a christian             his bible’s cover never as beaten as yours
so who loved god more                                         who can keep up with who is reborn and born
and is your son as wrathful as his father
For God so loved the earth that
you got to be a sinner                                                   and the silver cross hanging around your neck
is a thorn in your side slip it off                              after the service Goddammit Shirley
you know love                                                                  like that                 is
       as sure as the grave is.