by Susan E. Wagner
I She mumbles and mutters, The smell of dirt and filth Cover her more than Those thin clothes. It is indecent. A smell of rot flows from Her mouth, her teeth Broken and stained. Do you hear her? She prays, day in, day Out, and each evening. Why would Yahweh listen To such a one? II Thank you, Father, For that tasty bit of fig Dropped right before me When that highborn girl Passed by. Bless her for me, dear Lord. She could have Kicked me and did not. And see sweet Miriam Over there, Lord? She Is always sick with this New babe she carries. Bless her, please, and I think a daughter would Would be most welcomed This time, if it is your will. III “Jacob, stay away from her. She is dirty.” “Oh, yes, I am. Yes, I am.” “Give her this.” “Thank you, kind lady. May Yahweh bless you.” “Hurry, Jacob.” “Bless you. Bless you.” IV It is cold here tonight. Lord, why must it be So cold? Who can rest in this? Well, your dirt keeps me Warm – Oh, Lord! There is plenty of that on me! Yes, yes, there is. My thanks for that.
Susan E. Wagner‘s book, Unmuted: Voices on the Edge, is a hybrid collection on mental illness and families. She has taught professional and creative writing in mental health settings and adult community classes. She recently retired as an editor at the Pearl S. Buck Writing Center in Perkasie, PA.