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Poetry

Jean-Luc Fontaine

Jean-Luc is a Tucson based poet. He enjoys hot coffee and long bus rides.

Religion

Mom only liked
God on Sundays—
frazzled hair brush
and lint roller
in her hands
like air traffic
control wands
as she heralded us
into her minivan.

She only hung
her dust-streaked rosary
from the rear-view mirror
as she rushed us
to Church on Sundays.

And the only time
my family prayed
was when we dug
our knees into those wooden kneelers.

During those early
morning sermons,
mom made sure
our fingers were always weaved
in prayer

and swatted the back
of our head
if we jostled too loudly
while walking towards
the wafer-thin priest
to receive communion.

And after Mass,
when Sister Percy
handed mom
that big brown box of vegetables—
red tomatoes and green
peppers knocking about
like Christmas ornaments—

mom always made sure
we thanked her.
But after we got home from mass,
we begged mom
to not make us go back
to those hard seats,
to the fusty priest
who put us to sleep,

as we helped her put away
Ms. Percy’s vegetables
into our bone-bare fridge.

We continued to complain
as we bit into
the tomato sandwiches

mom always made
for Sunday lunch—
the first vegetable
we had eaten in over three days.

The juices rivering
down our chin,
baptising our faces in charity.

After Spotting A Page of Coupons in the Back of the Newspaper

Some might look and scoff,
wonder why anyone would need
30 cents off a roll of toilet paper

or half-off a dusty can of beans,
but when I spot a coupon, I think
of my childhood, laughing with my brother,

markers in our hands, pretending
to be cowboys wrangling cattle
as we circled coupons for the toys

we wanted for Christmas.
I think of my junior year in highschool
when coupons helped cover

the cost of the sewing kit
I used to stitch up the holes
in the second-hand pair of dress pants

I wore to prom—
honeycombed from years of use.
And when fired from the kitchen I worked in,

coupons kept the pantries
in my cramped studio apartment
filled with Vienna Sausages,

canned olives, and Spaghetti-os
the rings bobbing in the broth like life preservers.
So when I spot the page of coupons

in the back of the newspaper,
of course I sit at my dining room table,
grab a pair of scissors

and raze the deals from the page—
the scissors scything through the paper,
like a sickle soaring through

a copper field of wheat.
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