- Jesus Walks in Blue above Louisiana
over the jails and prisons we build for our young dark-skinned men, two white gloves reach through a window, finger accordion for the dancing light-skinned crowd inside, inside the gloves the hands are dark, outside a man stands inside night Jesus walks in black, land so flat blue presses down, teach us how to rise, anoint with oil the feet and jeweled crown of Clifton Chenier as Gabriel gives Satchmo his horn to blow us through the whirlwind, Kingdom come, Jesus walking on water, our feet dancing in blue to fried catfish plate lunch, drive-through daiquiris punch-drunk we pick a fight and hell the night with flaming cane fields, cinders on windshields windows shut, a/c up all year, lock out fear fear it, talk to the dead, hoodoo spirits spray each weed and skeeter, shoot what moves if it flies it dies, if it lives it cries until we rest in peace for Resurrection sealed in vaults where this world can’t ever reach us Jesus walks in gold, gold gathers and blesses its circle of hands while we stand outside and curse the poor, there’s oil on the water sin in the river, cancer in the meat and cup, the body of Jesus is sweet he teaches us how to die [End Page 22]
Jay Udall’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Verse Daily, Cincinnati Review, and Spillway. His latest volume of poems, The Welcome Table (2009), won the New Mexico Book Award. He teaches at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, where he also serves as chief editor of Gris-Gris, a new online journal (www.nicholls.edu/gris-gris).