The Illustrated Life of Jesus
In my father's study, there was this picture-book
with oversized, colorful, slick leaves
the story of Jesus, from the beginning,
but I found nothing good about him
when he was a kid, except that time
he showed up the priests
since he, being the son of God and all,
Nothing, I mean, about how it felt
having to keep it inside, like Superman
Jesus losing over and over at leg-wrestling
even to the fat-assed neighbor kid,
pretending to sweat over homework
or else the sheriff would cut him up
to find what made him different.
Did his mother tell him?
Over breakfast: "Your father's not the man
you think he is; he's God." Or did she whisper
in his ear at night, him drifting off to an old story
of shepherds, kings, and angels:
"You're not like the others," she'd say.
"You'll have to pay special attention."
In this book, he wore a white robe, like satin.
My mother had a blouse like that
smooth and cool against my cheek
and every time I read that book, I knew
that smell of satin in my mouth, that taste.