Christ, the Superstar spread out on his Cross


         Afer the Holy Sonnets


A blond girl looks at me from her pew.

Her lips are pink and full. 

Her mother sits next to her:

a wizened, bronze creature.

Her daughter kicks her legs

in tempo to the sermon.  She snaps

her purse open and shut.  She taps

the floor with her heel.

Her mother places a steel

hand across her knees to halt

her kicks. The daughter looks up

at Christ spread out on his Cross

and crosses her flat chest

with one hand.  She bends

to kiss her crucifix. Her lips are juice. 

Christ hangs around her neck

in chains.  Her toes extrude

from splitting sandals.  She spits

into her hands and rubs

the salvia around her palms,

until they’re sticky and wet. 

She clutches her thighs beneath

her white frock and irons

her legs with a salty hand,

as if nursing a cramp.  “Settle down.”

Her mother snaps and looks at me.

Her eyes are battered in mascara.

The rouge has gouged the pink

from her tighter cheeks.  Her

pecan breasts indicate a milk-boiling

post pregnancy or a direct scalpel:

uplifting, enlightening, erecting.

Christ, the superstar pauses on his cross.

The mother leans over to whisper

to her daughter, exhibiting

a pigment spotted wrist

Her daughters’ wrists are boneless.  

After church

her daughter blows my daughter a kiss.


Christ, our white blue-eyed cross-burner

stares at us on Sunday

from his spread-eagled pose.

As skinny as father without his clothes.

As blind as mother with her new nose.


© 1998-1999



I wrote this poem at Florida State.  I wrote this poem in the middle of the night, and tinkered with it on off for about year. 

It’s told from two perspectives, the 1st voice is from the mind of a child molester, or would-be-child-molester who is watching a girl who sits across the pew from him at church on Sunday.  The 2nd voice is from the young girl the child molester is watching while they are attending a church service in Florida.

The last stanza is very Theodore Roethke-esque,  it is a lost ode to him–hidden in the verse.  I hope my Theodore reads this poem in the multi-string universe. 




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