A Ted Cruz-loving End Times Pastor uses numerology to prove President Obama sacrificed Justice Scalia in a pagan ritual. It used to be that all human sacrifice was pagan. Then it was, once, both metaphor and reality. Now it’s all barbarism. My gut says I should give up—it would probably taste like tomalley—delicious and rich, even though you know the lobster’s a bottom-feeder in poisoned oceans and the tomalley is its liver. We must picture hell, according to C. S. Lewis, as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement and everyone has a grievance. Is prayer a sense in the way smell is? I wonder how many of my senses will be bruised to death before this season winds down, whether putting out my own eyes in order not to watch is an act of synesthesia. Human sacrifice has never been a metaphor. And this election season leaves me less concerned about eschatology than I used to be. Therefore I embrace scatology both from hope that something can be flushed out instead of sacrificially out-fleshed. I’m going to build a wall; it’s going to be a great wall. I’m going to make America great again. The Cruz-loving End Times flock-shepherd let his heart smithereen against the wall of his belief. DMD sat next to the Russian-Jewish immigrant at the Chinese New Year celebration. He told her that Obama had destroyed the America to which he fled 24 years before, and that WMDs had—he knows this for a fact—been found in Iraq. She said she’d lived in America long enough to know the country better, and it wasn’t ever better. Wir haben ein Gesetz, und nach dem Gesetz soll er sterben.* Ora ut Deo tota confisa, age vero ut solum in tuis ipsius viribus nitens.** The flag tired itself out with flying. So many knives in so many hands. So many breasts bared and waiting.
*We have a law, and according to the law, he must die. John 19:7
**Pray as if all depended on God. Act as if all depended on you. Attributed to St. Augustine, St. Ignatius, and others. Translation by Prof. Robert Rodgers.
Confession in a Cemetery
Well, shit. Here we are watching
my uncle lowered into his grave.
He used to hit his daughters.
All I can think about is finding
my grandfather’s headstone.
I haven’t visited in years.
Everybody on my mother’s side’s buried here—
this flat Methodist cemetery
edge of this damn-near dead southern town:
My Nana, the contralto,
married in secret to my grandfather in his senior year
at a college for Southern Gentlemen,
who died younger than I am now;
my mother’s older brother,
dead near birth from forceps;
my grandfather’s second wife
who always made me custard when we came downstate
who loved diamonds and made the best pound cake;
my grandfather, who, fretted, busy with his dying,
wanting his first wife dug up and moved
one plot to the side, so he’d end up
between both women he had loved;
Uncles, grand-uncles, aunts, grand-aunts,
degrees of cousins I might’ve never met.
The sexton fills in the hole. We stand around.
One cousin’s soon-to-be ex-husband
stands two headstones back. He wants to leave.
They all leave. I walk across the grass to find the other graves,
stalk back and forth, reading headstones,
searching over ground I’ve already walked.
Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, Gargoyle. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (2008), Neither Prayer, Nor Bird (2013), Alphabet Year, (2017).