Summer 1989 • Vol. XI No. 3 Poetry |

A Blasphemy

A girl attacked me once with a number 2 Eagle pencil for a whiny lisping impression of a radio preacher she must have loved more than sophistication or peace, for she took the pencil in a whitened knuckle and drove the point with all her weight behind it through a thick pair of jeans, jogging it at the end, and twisting it, so the lead broke off under the skin, an act undertaken so suddenly and dramatically, it was as though I had awakened in a strange hotelwith sirens going off and half-dressed women rushing in every direction with kids tucked under their arms. As though the Moslems had retaken Jerusalem for the twelfth time, the crusaders were riding south, and the Jews in Cádiz and Grenada were packing their bags, mapping the snowy ghettos of the north. But where we were, it was still Tuscaloosa, late summer, and the heat in her sparsely decorated room we had come to together after work was so miserable and intense the wallpaper was crimping at each seam, the posters of daisies

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Rodney Jones teaches in the Warren Wilson Low Residency MFA Program and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the Harper Lee Award. His new book, Village Prodigies, which combines techniques of fiction and poetry, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the spring of 2017.

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By Rodney Jones

A girl attacked me once with a number 2 Eagle pencil for a whiny lisping impression of a radio preacher she must have loved more than sophistication or peace, for […]

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