Masthead | Submissions | Credo | Links | Previous Issues

For Two Mormon Missionaries
Kathleen Peterson

I stood in the cold on the common
and let the boys fill me up with God. Imagine
you are two halves, the left half love
and the right half nothing. The kiss
that goes all the way through you, the supermarket kiss,
the first kiss impossible to remember
though a haze of it, you track back, these nights,
that tracking become itself a kiss.
The aftermath of the first kiss in unpremeditated speech.
Your left half fights its way through winter,
your right half thrives frozen. The kiss
on the wrist in the restaurant the morning after
something, the morning before travel.
That kiss traveled with you and does still.
Jesus in America, they said, we want to come
to your house. Imagine Jesus in America,
the rural fields parting in corn arteries
for Jesus, the cities building new overpasses
to speed Jesus in. The left half a suspended thicket
of interlocking branches, every which way, the left half
shedding itself into the river. The right half
nothing. The kiss on your birthday, the furtive embrace,
the first kiss after sorrow, after a fight.
The tender shape of that, as when a June hand
holds a piece of ice. The kiss and the history
of sorrow, why must that always be the history of you
stopping to explain yourself for far too long.
Someone runs past us, they are terribly late.
Jesus is terribly late, his car won’t start.
The anonymous kiss in the car that won’t start,
emotions held past dawn like wedding flowers,
speech held past the particulars
of speech. Unimaginable your right half,
your carpals, your metacarpals, clusters
of blood vessels reinventing themselves in the fingers,
unimaginable your frozen half thriving through the winter,
your left half in reckless pursuit of it.
The kiss that made you remember
right half and left, the seam of them.
They were separate but joined together,
and your body shone in its parts.
It might shine again, with another,
the first kiss of comprehension, so early in the spring,
do you remember it? It was so early, so barely
spring, winter wanted that day that was yours
for its own frozen self. Who kissed you?
Who kissed you? You didn’t know. And then you did,
the first kiss, the supermarket kiss, before choosing.

Copyrights © 2006, GC & Authors.