Visitor

By Jennifer Blair

I am taking my grandmother to Sunday School this morning.

She doesn’t like to drive Cottonwood Canyon anymore,

and Grandpa stopped going when the last preacher moved

the parsonage away from the church right before he retired.

Grandpa called him a liar and a thief. When I was little

I loved the cookie exchanges and soup lunches here, the way

women would sort change using the holes of muffin tins.

Now I am grown and many ladies who squawked lovingly

over me and my brother in the foyer are gone. Today, November

sun streams in the windows, illuminating the one sugar sogged

doughnut forsaken in the box. Outside, horses in the pasture

behind the parking lot stand placidly and flick their manes,

not seeming to realize we are discussing such alarms as the end

times, unsaved neighbors, and broken hips. Grandma sits, back

hunched over her Bible. She would have married Billy Graham

if she could (And I think it is not too much to say that she

deserves him). But today, the nearest man of God we have is

Bob who tells us to flip to Ephesians next, only to be interrupted

by a flannel shirted worrier who asks an intricate apocalyptic

question about which Arab Nation will come after us all first.

My spine curdles as my Grandma and I silently await Bob’s

reply, but Bob in his American flag pin surprises us all,

waving away bloody moons and foaming oceans in order

that he may talk about war in general, and being a soldier

in Vietnam—how the water buffalo would suddenly appear

out of the long grasses, liquid eyes staring at you in such

an intimate fashion that you almost would drop your gun.

_____

Jenn Blair is from Yakima, WA. She has published in Kestrel, Copper Nickel, The Tusculum Review, Santa Fe Review, and has work forthcoming in New South, Rattle, and the Tulane Review. Her chapbook “All Things are Ordered” is out from Finishing Line Press. She teaches at the University of Georgia.


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