Jesus Is the Reason

for the Season reads the marquee on the Lyric Drive-In
closed for the winter though it’s unseasonably warm
which I know because the waterfalls frozen en route

down the palisades rock walls are thawing to small rivulets
while a semi-trailer with airbrushed Ten Commandments
tablets and a One Nation Under God flag passes us on 460.

I am wearing camo pants to make me less conspicuous as
a Jew in West Virginia. I am wearing camo pants for safety
(my multiracial family) but I don’t blend at the Bob Evans

where everyone is post-church dressy—I forgot it was Sunday
and I am melting or worried about the climate apocalypse
optimistically with the waitress who brings extra biscuits

for my hungry kids or the jolly man in a gray suit who leans
across the booths to shout to his friend I’ve seen those grand-
daughters of yours and y’all going to have to get guns! Then the yard

banner with Trump’s head on Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo
body pointing his machine gun at our cars driving toward
holiday families and the radio we scan past saying (I swear

to god) but there were false prophets also among the people. We all
have two faces and one is know Jesus / know peace and
the other is the billboard from the Appalachian Christian

Center above the one from Southern X-posure Platinum
Gentlemen’s Club that says, Don’t be deceived! Evil company
corrupts good habits (Corinthians 15:33). We are our own

worst enemies—just ask Adultmart, its roof painted with
giant white letters: dvd lingerie novelty, as if
we were coming by air, as if a store could carry the things

we might need to survive the coming eschaton. It’s the first
night of Hanukkah and we will stop to light a menorah my son
constructed as an art project from washers and old ceramic

tile that only holds tiny birthday candles and when the wax
runs off the sides like lava or king tides, like rivulets of melting
car tires caught in raging wildfires, we won’t even try to stop it.

Erika Meitner is the author of five books of poems, including Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA Editions, 2018), which was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award in poetry, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her next book, Useful Junk, is due out in 2022 from BOA Editions. She is currently a professor of English at Virginia Tech.