May 13, 2009 / Creative Writing
I watched Rebel Without a Cause on TV late one college night when I learned …
May 13, 2013
bejesus: by Jesus, an alteration of Jesus Christ;
a mild expletive of the temple of the Holy Spirit,
e.g. <scare the bejesus out of me>
Sunday morning Grandmother and I walk down the alley to the Pentecostal church. Dust puffs lift from the toes of my shoes, powdery as Grandmother’s talcum. In the children’s room, I play until it’s time to march down the center aisle (the congregation singing “Praise Him All Ye Little Children”) to where she usually sits peacefully shaping words with her lips as her finger traces across the Bible’s page. This time, when I pass Mrs. Walker, I notice her hair unpinned and find Grandmother standing, face up, mouth open, eyes rolled back. She’s jabbering in a voice I can’t understand. Certain she’s in pain, I squeeze through the row of solid bodies blocking my way. Just as I’m close enough to touch her skirt, I’m yanked back and held tight against the sweaty shirt of Deacon James. Close to my ear, Keep still and be quiet. Grandmother’s arms flail about, eyes gone wild. Her elbow goes stiff as she points right at me: Get away from me Satan. Whatever precious goodness there is in me hightails it out the front door with the devil hot on my heels. Years later I conclude, the way that ignorance can draw conclusions, there is something in me that acts alone and causes me to do bad things. Deep down inside where shame hides, perhaps I’m not who I think I am.
Meredith Kunsa’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Connecticut Review, Inkwell, Kalliope, Los Angeles Review, Passager, Persimmon Tree, Raven Chronicles, Silk Road, and Tiferet, among others. She holds two advanced degrees from California State University, San Diego: an MPA in public administration and an MFA in creative writing.