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"Brief Encounters of the Jesus Kind"

Published:
January 2, 2024
January 1, 2024
Read "Brief Encounters of the Jesus Kind", a poem about Jesus' presence that we can acknowledge or ignore in our community.

In the small town, the old man, running after him, grabbed his arm,
hoping to “save” the artist: young, kind face, detailed tattoos
everywhere. “Do you know Jesus?” the elder yelled, meaning no harm

(perhaps) though harm was done, the elder’s too-loud salvation alarm
sounding snap judgements near long hair, piercings. “FU,”
the other could have said and run when the old man grabbed his arm

too hard. But why? The non-committal “I know of him,” offered calm,
diffused a tension that could have exploded in a country where blue
and red divide everything, where yelling back, “Does He know you?” adds harm

tenfold. I’ve heard the question, too, have answered, “Yes,” the norm
when I learned faith in different form. But now? Such polar views
in every town. Last year, an old man at the airport grabbed my arm,

looked around at all the brown and black faces, and, then, misinformed
by my age or attire, whispered loudly, “We’re surrounded!” The person whom
he assumed I was: that screamed everything. “Jesus,” I almost yelled, meaning harm

too large to say. Instead, I shook him off, walked ten yards away, hoping he’d squirm
with shame. He never noticed my too-small action, checking his wallet, consumed
by, in that large city, the thought that some black man would run after him, grab his arm.
“They’re everywhere, you know.” Action or inaction: in Jesus’ name, we enact harm.

Creators:
Marjorie Maddox
Published:
January 2, 2024
January 1, 2024
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