Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016


by Steve Kowit

Jesus comes back like he said he would: a stand-up kind of guy,
unassuming to a fault but rock-solid. The shy type everyone
likes but no one thinks much about one way or the other,
until one evening, during a storm, tooling down I-15
in his beat-up VW bug, he passes one of those awful
two-car collisions, & pulling to the shoulder, hops out, strolls
past the paramedics & cops, & before they can think
to stop him, kneels into all that shattered glass
by the gurneys & sheets, & with a few incomprehensible words
in a language nobody’s spoken in two thousand years,
coaxes the dead back to life. The little kid gets back
his severed leg, & all that blood on the road disappears
like a bottle of trick ink. Then everyone starts waking up.
Even the drunk in the Chevy, sober for once,
& looking sheepish as hell. Thank God, he thinks,
no one was hurt. Outraged, the cops wrestle Jesus
to the mud, snap on the cuffs, & toss him in the back
of their squad car. But when they’re done helping
the two ladies & the kid to their feet & walk back,
the cuffs are on the dashboard & their black K-9
Lab retriever is curled in the guy’s lap, Jesus scratching
the fellow behind the ears—something no one’s
thought to do since he was a pup....
Listen, you know as well as I that none of this is true,
just a story I made up about the world we would like
to have been born into, that world where nothing we love
has to die. But the Lab retriever I was thinking of was real:
our sweet beloved Raymond, gone many years now,
his black bushy tail twitching happily in his sleep,
as he’d lie at the foot of our bed, the way he used to.


—First published in The Sun (Issue 439, July 2012); republished here from Cherish: New and Selected Poems by Steve Kowit (University of Tampa Press, October 2015), with kind permissions from the publisher and Mary Kowit

See also:

1. Details About “Kowit’s Korner” and The Kowit Prize (updated in SHJ:16)

2. A Tribute to Steve Kowit in The Sun (Issue 475, July 2015)

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury