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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 163 words [R]
By Deborah J. Shore

Purging

John 2:15
 
The part that strikes me most 
is not the crack-whip on tables, 
the discombobulated sheep turning fast circles 
in danger of hurting themselves, or His disdain 
for the clinking change now bouncing off 
the great stones with such a spark 
as if to ignite a fire. 

The image in my head is Jesus in a corner 
weaving ropes into a scourge all morning, 
rather alone, misfit in His temple home. 
He cannot entrust Himself to them, even His fans. 
Yet His message is interdependence. 

The bights in the rope rest against His thigh, 
a somber reminder, an extended sigh. 
I get; Lord, do I get, 
braiding intentions, wishes, and plans 
while the heat creeps 
up Your neck, while tears for the vulnerable 
flow down Your cheeks—thumbing 
the familiar fraying, feeling You must 
twist every expectation in the inverse direction 
of an ancient cowlick to make them fit. 
The cords rubbing Your skin will always resist. 

 

 

—Winner of the Anglican Theological Review’s first poetry competition and published in Summer 2013 (Volume 95, No. 3; page 525). Poem appears here with author’s permission.


Deborah J. Shore
Issue 14, August 2022

has been disabled by a neuroimmune illness throughout her adult life. She has spent many years housebound or bedridden, and impaired cognitively and audio-visually, making engagement with and composition of literature hard-won. Nonetheless, early publication credits include the Christian Century, Christianity & Literature, and Crab Orchard Review. She has also been awarded first place in poetry competitions at the Anglican Theological Review and the Alsop Review.

 
 
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