Bad Men Who Love Jesus

Susan Stenson

From My Mother Agrees with the Dead, a work-in-progress.

It isn’t what you think.

I’m not just another American gringo,chasing old lady luck South.Staring wide-eyed at their beautiful skin,at the bones of the burros,the dogs and the rats. It’s not why I’ve come,to stare, to open my eyesthis wide, sucking the lemon before I drink.In the name of the Father,the Son, the Holy Spirit—no manis large enough to hold what’s been done.We paint murals. The bishop teachesThe People to make crafts. So ugly, the prices rise. In the square,light slips between the cracks, the girls,arm in arm, walk these stones,their muscles bent overbrooms and rosaries.All boys lean and tumble,eyes full of gossip and green-backs, tight Levi’s,the horses ignore the sun and the prayersspill out of doorways, hearts heaving in the swayof jacaranda falling into the streets,flies lighting the fruit in the stalls.I’m here: Patzcuarothe mountains so close to heaventhey sent the bishop to apologize.He stands solid in the square, round-bellied,soft in this light, Jesus, look at that.


Susan Stenson

Susan Stenson, author of Could Love A Man (Sono Nis, 2001), has won the League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Competition and This Magazine's Great Literary Hunt.



Young Earle Birney in Banff: September 1913¹

what a day!at the Basin2 dove from the tufa overhanginto the water, playing my trick ofseeming to drown, not coming up until I finish wrigglingthrough that underwater chimneyand burst into air. always startles the tourists.


Zamboni Driver’s Lament

i know hate, its line-mates. believe me. you kids have, i’m sure, wasted—all early morning anxious and weak-ankled—their first impatient shuffle-kicks and curses on me.


Xcuse Me

i sd lovinglee can yu  not yell at me  n call me