Enjoy the context, as well as the art itself. Thank you, Emily.
Jesus, Two Thousand Years Later
The scene: a two-car garage
at the line where suburbia meets city sprawl;
row houses beside a strip mall, a spa
and a seedy bar the PTA is in talks
to shut down.
The mother: a teen – young – wearing
Chucks, a hoodie, pajama pants, her belly
The boyfriend: eyes too-wide open,
The landlords are inside hosting
a house party. The runaways can sleep
in the garage, as long as they don’t touch
anything. Golf clubs especially.
The audience: a John Deere lawnmower,
two red gas canisters, a coil of green
hose, a 1995 Toyota Corolla.
An inflatable camp mattress, towels
from the big house.
The sound of pain
brings people: two junkies, a prostitute,
four skateboarders, a panhandler. A transvestite
named Suzie wipes the mother’s forehead
with an imitation Hermes scarf
and massages her palms.
Three academics show up, mistrusting
their GPS systems, lay down their gifts –
stocks, texts, an honorary degree.
A stray cat enters under the door.
The baby spills onto the concrete
and they wash him in water from an exterior tap,
wrap him in red plaid dishtowels.
The shock of life.
Outside, carolers from nowhere
burst into music so beautiful
the room breathes.