- Covenant, and: My Son Sings in Church, and: I am asked about my faith
The party of the second part hereby agrees
We needed at least three bedrooms.
that the premises hereby conveyed
I live in a dream
shall not at any time be conveyed, mortgaged or leased
home. East-facing window in my kitchen for the morning sun.
to any person or persons of Chinese, Japanese,
The Chinese believe a red door is lucky.
Moorish, Turkish, Negro,
I googled what does a red door mean before I painted ours.
Mongolian or African blood or descent.
Radiators provide the most even heat, our realtor told my husband.
Said restrictions and covenants
He was more skeptical of an old home than I was. [End Page 108]
shall run with the land
But the woodwork is gorgeous. And the windows
and any breach of any or either
have wooden criss-crosses like hundreds of picture frames.
thereof shall work
In the evening,
a forfeiture of title
every window becomes a mirror.
which may be enforced by re-entry.
My Son Sings in Church
Barely three, how he walks the long aisle,white choir robe puffingaround his small body. How he enterssuch a large word—sanctuary—a holy world of adults.Heavy pews in rows like teeth.Shaking notes of the organ.How he approaches a marble altarof unimaginable weight.How the windows arch highas the cloak of a villain.How his eyes widen and fighttears. How brave the child abovemy son—his open mouth [End Page 109] haloes my son's head. How my son leavesin a line toward the safe cave of churchbasement. He eats his animalcrackers, drinks his juice.No one tells him yet that it is blood,No one tells him it is flesh.
I am asked about my faith
A rose blown open is one red momentin a series of other moments: next a stem
bare-hipped in its thorns.
A thorn says listen,we are more like ourselves than we want
to believe. I want to believe Godis like my father, kind and patient.
His anger fork-flung, and ending
in forgiveness. A comfort: God may wait like my dadfor my phone calls.
Who loves me like downpour and is far away.
God may say, the way people always say,all any child needs is love. Naively
may be the best way to live.
Out the back door, there is raincarving out mud rivers. There is a dry dead mouse [End Page 110]
my son cried over buried behind the garage.Our beloved dog once watched a hurt bird hopping
along the path, then swallowed it whole.
The screen door bangs in the wind.It's not that my faith is gone— [End Page 111]
Jennifer Manthey's poems have appeared in journals including Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, Palette Poetry, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She received her mfa from Hamline University in St Paul and lives in Minneapolis.