Roy Bentley

The phrase doesn’t occur anywhere in the Bible.
My grandmother made it up once while reading aloud.
Someone with a third-grade education and genuine faith
who liked Westerns and that American gospel of flaming
clouds exploding over the heads of the meek of the earth.

Sooner or later, she’d tear up and then uncover the hem
of her petticoat to make spotless the lenses of her bifocals.

The grisly poetry of Revelations says the end of the world
is that horrific time the living envy the dead, a bad-enough
bedtime story, but that Sturm und Drang of the Crucifixion—
that was taking annunciatory trumpeting too far. Adlibbing
a metaphor for blood loss is one thing, but the mouths of

hellish furnaces were in that tale of violence. That gospel.
An intercessory drip drip drip weight of self lifting at death.

Now here in the calm autonomies of my older years
I am thinking that humankind could be less appalling.
Maybe another messiah, some variety of a pissed-off Jesus,
could roll back the heavy stone of the tomb on the 4 th of July.
He (or she) could step out. Say, Enough with the fireworks.

A door in the heart of the world might open. A trumpet
sound. We could have a new god and new soap opera.