Occupy Poetry

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.

From: 
David E. Cowen

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