The Farm Wife Turns Off the TV Evangelist

Shari M. Wagner Click to read more...

Shari Wagner, Indiana’s fifth Poet Laureate, is the author of The Harmonist at Nightfall: Poems of Indiana (Bottom Dog Press, 2013) and Evening Chore (Cascadia, 2005). Her poems have appeared in North American Review, The Writer’s Almanac, and American Life in Poetry. She teaches for the Indiana Writers Center and Butler University’s Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative.

(photo credit — Rachel Greenberg)

The Jesus I grew up with
likes to be outside.
If he’s not fishing, he’s picking figs
or showing off his mustard crop.

He prefers dusty roads, the common sparrow,
and lilies of the field.
When he knocks on your door,
holding a lantern, you know it’s time
to buckle on overshoes
and go with him to feed the sheep.

But this preacher, who looks straight
into the camera and claims
he knows Jesus,
says what Jesus wants
is for me to believe he is
who he says he is
so he can come inside.

That sounds suspiciously
like a wolf with his paws dipped in flour.
The Jesus who healed the blind
says to recognize a tree by its fruit.

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