Steve Kowit – Raymond

I’ve been receiving advertisements asking me to subscribe to the magazine The Sun for quite some time and I’ve always been interested but not quite enough to send in a check.  I picked up a copy at the San Francisco airport a few weeks ago and I was pleased to find one of the most enjoyable poems I’ve read in a while.  It’s by a poet I’m unfamiliar with, although I do own his poetry handbook Steve Kowit.

Raymond

Jesus comes back like he said he would: a stand-up kind of guy,

reticent to a fault but rock solid.  The shy type everyone likes

bot no one thinks much about one way or the other,

until one evening, during a storm, tooling down I-15

in his beat-up VW vug, he passes one of those awful

two-car wrecks &, pulling to the shoulder, hops out,

strolls past the paramedics & cops, & before they can

think to stop him, kneels into all that shattered glass

by the gurneys & sheets &, with a few incomprehensible words

in a language nobody’s spoken in two thousand years,

coaxes the dead back to life.  The little kid

gets back his severed leg, & all that blood on the road

disappears lie a bottle of trick ink.  Then everyone starts

waking up.  Even the drunk in the Chevy, sober

for once & looking sheepish as hell.  Thank God, he thinks,

no one was hurt.  Outraged, the cops wrestle Jesus

to the mud, snap on the cuffs, & toss him in the back

of their squad car.  But when they’re done helping

the two ladies and the kid to their feet & walk back,

the cufs are on the dashboard & their black K-9 Lab retreiver

is curled in the guy’s lap, Jesus scratching the fellow

behind the ears – something no one’s though to do

since he was a pup.  Listen, you know as well as I

that none of this is true, just a story I made up

about the world we would like to have been born into,

that world where nothing that we love has to die.

But the Lab retriever I was thinking of was real:

our beloved Raymond, who’s been gone now many years,

though I can still see his black tail twitching happily

in his sleep as he’d lie at the foot of our bed, the way he used to.

The Sun is a beautiful magazine with quality content.  I think I’ll be subscribing soon.  You can find this Kowit poem in Issue 439, July 2012.

*I do not own this poem.  Copyright The Sun and Steve Kowit.

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