by Jane Hicks

Three inches square, color images of prophets,
heroes, a bland, blond Jesus, and a verse.
I learned to read on the back side, the simple
story of the image. Those cards were prized
by pre-television kids, collected and counted
by little blood-washed lambs, the same league
as Maris and Mantle. David was my first love,
his sling held fast as his faith, Goliath
still and crumpled. Our Sunday school class
met in the pews on the left of the pulpit.
Men and women in opposite corners dealt with God,
in clear view of the class my grandmother taught
since their time, when they clutched a crumpled Jesus.
The first Sunday we didn’t drive down home,
to that church, I knew my mother was done with God.
I kept Jesus in a box under my bed for years
until my mother, careening too near death,
remembered those cards of her day. I took
Jesus out, brought Him to her,
stuck the cards all around the room where
she slept easy and breathed deep.

     Blood & Bone Remember
     Poems from Appalachia
     Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2005