There’s a black cloud over the hill.There’s a black cloud over the school.The grass shoves the shed to the fenceat property’s edge. Rumor says under the shedthere’s a copperhead or two. Rightly, crawl spaceis what these burnished snakes are banished to,but the nettled grass, the chain link fencefail to bar them from the dappled yard.There are grackles under the trees.Under the trees at dusk there are gracklesthat peck and crack pecans near the hedge.A squirrel skitters and scats up a scaly bolein fear of these dark birds with squatters’ rights,while the sky . . . ? It folds and is quietly stored away.
There’s no Jesus on the page.No church or priest or wafer.He’s a dark figure. An inkycharacter he is, that Jesus.Here there’s no ink for him.These are not holy wordsand this is no evangelistic sermon.It’s no polemic. This poem’s plain,as plain as rain and oil and wine.It may speak of a rough-cut slab,but there’s no altar and no wood.There’s no ram or holocaust.The writing’s black markslike smudges on a linen clothunder a kind and lambent light.