Half a Cup of Charity

Every August in Austin
mobile loaves and fishes
pass out their Jesus water
to the homeless under the bypass. I
have always preferred wafers of Jesus flesh
over magnetic Jesus fish but we all take
what we are handed.

Marty tells me "commit the sins."
David tells me "confess your goodness."
leaving me thigh-tired from the see-saw press,
never trusting anyone to
let me down slow. Balance
is unlikely here by the access road,
cardboard cathedral littered
with yesterday's biscuits, cat alley
musicians home from the last show.

Jesus tease us, untie your robe. Why
are you always half dead half re-arisen
in the sexiest poses? Subligaculum
riding low, just a hint of hip. I
always wanted something more,
they told me, they always told me
you loved me still this holding back.

Sister Mercy arrives with chilled Evian
for the one-legged brothers and
a three-nippled whore, 105 degrees
closer to hell for all, one slip knot away
from dangling lines of damnation.

—Jennifer VanBuren