John/Elijah

Jesse Morrell / Open Air Outreach

By Laura Coulter

Every Saturday, by the highway near Wal-Mart,
you see him standing there alone.
Not much to notice about him,
nothing leaps to the eye.
Wiry hair gray as storm clouds.
The faded black clothes of an itinerant preacher. He holds a bullhorn,
but with the roar of the traffic
you hear him only as a nasal keening.
The first placard reads MAKE SOME NOISE FOR JESUS
and, passing, a few horns blare.
The other signs are a cardboard forest
YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN and
HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE HIS WRATH IF WE
IGNORE SO GREAT A SALVATION?
Calling out, calling out to the SUVs, the Cadillacs,
the sedans sleek as sharks
tangled together at the interstate entrance
like blood clotting an artery
You brood of vipers,
who told you to escape the coming judgment, you blind, you deaf
to the shoppers, the students housewives
teachers CEOs CFOs CPAs
stockbrokers teenagers managers cops bureaucrats firefighters
dancers singers artists poets
husbands wives fathers mothers sons daughters
who think they know their destination
all lost all lost all lost
he calls out
Prepare the way of the LORD.
Make His paths straight.

Laura Coulter is a Birmingham, Alabama-based poet, freelance writer, and was a regular contributor to PRISM Magazine. Her first novel, The Least, was published in 2002.

 

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