Jody Azzouni



Originally published in Voices International 29:4, 1994
Added 8/14/2021
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Poem | Jody's Notes



The stained windows, stuffed with canned light,

offer only a glassy salvation: frozen pictures,

flat with hope. I pray, fervently

(my knees awkward against the pew),

as only an atheist can. My eyes are shut tight,

my lips move painfully over jagged

slices of the Lord’s Prayer, or perhaps,

the twenty-third psalm: echoes I pull

(successfully) from the black holes in my head.


Like a panicked squid I have sprayed ink

over my memories (I admit it) and

somehow God romps in the resulting shadow.

The tradition paints ghosts white.

But I know better. When he visits me he’s a root

trailing dark puddles, or a cigarette

snubbed out in an ashtray. Mysterious, at best,

but I have learned to approach soot

with trepidation, dust with fear,

whatever my beliefs may be.


Here, at last, is the happy ending:

when I leave the church (for ritual bleeds to

boredom), my brow is wet. I wipe my forehead,

find my perspiration daylight,