JOB, ISAAC AND THE BARRIO

by David E. Cowen

Forgive me my Father,
if I sleep with one eye open.

. . . . . .

Let me understand this:
you were having tea with Satan
and in casual conversation
made a bet with the bleak, red one.
You killed my herds, forcing me to debtor's prison;
when I complained
you killed my wife;
when I complained again,
you slaughtered my children;
when I still complained
you covered my skin with rotting, bleeding sores
which the dogs licked as I slept in a bed of soot,
wearing only burlap;
when I still complained
you berated me with your omniscience
and belittled my powerless existence
demanding repentance for a sin
I did not commit;
when I did not repent,
you won your bet.

. . . .

Forgive me my Father,
if I sleep with one eye open.

. . . .

Voices, you said you heard;
and coaxed me to the hill of blood
where you slash the lambs;
you bound my body with hemp
and lay me on the cold stone,
the stench of your last kill still lingering;
a crooked dagger you raised,
shouting prayers of adolation and obedience
to your Voices,
ignoring my pleas and tears;
but all is well now you assure me;
the Voices relented and my blood
stays with me.

. . . .

Forgive me my Father,
if I sleep with one eye open.

. . . .

Mama's brow wrinkles
as she watches me and Katie
sitting expectantly at the table
picking at the black tape
patch over the peeled veneer;
she seems to pace as she hears us argue
over who is the most hungry;
the look on her face acknowledging
the empty rumble in our stomachs.
Mama walks into the room
chiding us for our petty argument;
sending us to our rooms without supper,
punishment for our transgression;
we cry quietly in our beds,
praying for forgiveness,
confused by the echo of Mama
sobbing downstairs at the table.

. . . . .

Forgive me my Father,
if I sleep with one eye open.

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About David E. Cowen

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Biography
David Cowen, a resident of Houston, Texas is the author of a volume of poetry entitled Sixth and Adams (2001), and has been published in online and hard copy journals and anthologies in the United States, Great Britain and Australia. One of his poems was featured in a 9/11 tribute in the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Outfront radio program (2006) and one of his essays will appear in This I Believe: On Motherhood (2012) published by the This I Believe Foundation. Cineaction magazine, Canada's leading film journal, published a lengthy essay review of Centipede Press' The Exorcist: Studies in Horror Film, in its Winter 2012 edition. David has just finished his first full-length novel, The Goth Sabbatical, a gothic picaresque involving an inept, sexually wayward professor of dark literature who reluctantly goes on a sabbatical to the “old country” only to find that ancient myths are borne of ancient horrors