Issue 125, Winter 1992
A Flicker of Apocalypse
If the man who called you nigger in Dominick’s parking lot
had only dialed 1-800-882-Mary earlier today,
he may have been a better boyscout. I bet
his wife would be patting him right now, saying: Meadoaf’s
It seems there’s been heavy-duty Jesus activity
on the East Coast lately and His mother is behind it.
I see Him bodysurfing in the Atlantic, sharing parables
of large Northshore families and small sea urchins
with teenagers and sandy toddlers. I wonder where
He’s hiding—prefab in Wantagh? Coach house in Old Westbury?
We’d been supermarket shopping as usual, a little
decaf, a few oranges, and this Christian man of uncertain
origin spits at the parking lot and says the word.
It sounds like “igga” or “neeah”, but you get the point,
and you look at him with one of your kiss-of-death looks,
your obeah-in-the-blood-there’s-a-knife-in-my-pocket glower,
and his wife begins to pull on his sleeve like a little girl,
whimpering. And clouds marshal in from the South Side.
And I swear the lights click on at this exact moment.
Every pigeon stands still. Every Toyota. Only the streamers
and banners over Dominick’s parking lot rustle in the wine
I send you my message by archangel—Honey, between us
we could choke this skinny man before the courtesy patrol
arrives to collect his cart. So religion falls shorter.
In reality, his wife dragged him away to a tasteless roast.
And we stood shaking in the light of the all-night supermarket
until the archangel released Chicago and carried us home