The Jesus Infection
by Maxine Kumin

Jesus is with me
on the Blue Grass Parkway going eastbound.
He is with me
on the old Harrodsburg Road coming home.
I am listening
to country gospel music
in the borrowed Subaru.
The gas pedal
and the words
leap to the music.
O throw out the lifeline!
Someone is drifting away.
Flags fly up in my mind
without my knowing
where they’ve been lying furled
and I am happy
living in the sunlight
where Jesus is near.
A man is driving his polled Herefords
across the gleanings of a cornfield
while I am bound for the kingdom of the free.
At the little trestle bridge that has no railing
I see that I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.
Signposts every mile exhort me
to Get Right With God
and I move over.
There’s a neon message blazing
at the crossroad
catty-corner to the Burger Queen:
Ye Come With Me.
It is well with my soul, Jesus?
It sounds so easy
to be happy after the sunrise,
to be washed in the crimson flood.
Now I am tailgating
and I read a bumper sticker
on a Ford truck full of Poland Chinas.
It says: Honk If You Know Jesus
and I do it.
My sound blats out for miles
behind the pigsqueal
and it’s catching in the front end,
in the axle,
in the universal joint,
this rich contagion.
We are going down the valley on a hairpin turn,
the swine and me, we’re breakneck in
we’re leaning on
the everlasting arms.
“The Jesus Infection” by Maxine Kumin from Selected Poems: 1960-1990. W. W. Norton © 1997.

Tree Alighted


illustrated by Luis Peres

flags fly; branches launch

a ship to great beyond; birds’

and pirates aloft

%d bloggers like this: