OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 3

Michelle Brooks

Vacation Bible School

 

Before the puppet show, Melissa and I split

a stolen Valium.  As the children gathered,

a dreamy feeling descended on the eighth

grade me, benevolence for all I saw -- the cheap

hand puppets, a mouse and giraffe who

became Jonah and the whale.  I put my mouse

into the mouth of Melissa’s giraffe while God

waited for Jonah to get himself right.  He’d

run from Ninevah only to suffer.  Brother

Buddy complimented us on our performance,

telling me that longsuffering was my fruit

of the spirit. I didn’t sound good, even medicated

against harm and boredom.  I didn’t know then

that you didn’t have to be swallowed whole,

that you could swallow the whale and not

know you were trapped by what was inside you.

Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). She just completed a book of essays titled Second Day Reported.