Roberta Schultz is a singer songwriter, teacher and poet originally from Grant’s Lick, KY. Her poems and song lyrics have appeared in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Still: the Journal, Motif, Kudzu, Riparian and other anthologies. Her three chapbooks, Outposts on the Border of Longing (2014,) Songs from the Shaper’s Harp (2017,) and Touchstones (2020) are published by Finishing Line Press. robertaschultz.com
(an answer to Maurice Manning’s “A Blasphemy.”)
I would have believed it, how
that man, a little hard of hearing perhaps,
prayed for his people, the trees and cows,
and all the living things near his place,
the very night itself who rocked
that place to sleep, his sole intent
to mend and tend that place so hard
his dreams became a part of his chores.
To pray to the us above, who, let’s
be honest, takes some knowing
that there is an “us” beyond the we
we see and touch and smell,
and a caring about the happiness
of those we share our pronouns with.
I want the you that is you not to laugh
for a minute and think about the root
of someone praying to “Old Yam.” How maybe
on a long ago morning that man might have heard
a song sung by a choir next to a river
about the great “I am,” and it stirred him
to conjure up that yonder you
as an ancient sweet potato buried in rich dirt
waiting for rough hands to unearth it.
Now that ain’t funny. Heck, I reckon it’s deep.