A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The old man stopped playing his guitar after his kids grew up. The guitar was placed in a closet under suit jackets that no longer fit, and old rain coats.
His daughter found the guitar while cleaning the house after her mom died. She asked her dad why he never played anymore. He grunted and shuffled to the kitchen to make some tea.
After everything was dusted and the suit jackets were donated to the Salvation Army, the guitar sat, un-played, next to the television. The Gibson hollow-body was now an antique, its red-orange sunburst the only color in gray room.
On a Wednesday morning a few months later, the old man was passing the time staring. Sun-beams roamed the living room like spotlights. One came to rest on the antique. The old man got out of his musky recliner, shuffled out to the shed to see if he could find his old Fender amp.
with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
Border-collies can’t help but herd
its fun to watch them on walks with families
running circles around them
The herding instinct is a vestige
of when border-collies’ ancestors
were mortal enemies of sheep
Now they are domesticated
to protect their former prey
and I think this may be
a form of foreshadowing.
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
Ian and I play “follow-the-leader”
Ian, being five years old,
plays the part of the leader
we crawl all over his house
over dusty linoleum
underneath the kitchen table
my allergies start to kick in
as Ian taunts me
telling me to hurry up
when we reach
the edge of the linoleum
Ian explains to me
the hardwood floor
is actually hot lava
and that to get over it
without being burned alive
we had to build a bridge
of the couch cushions
on the other side of the sea magma
there is lost world
where we are cave men
hunting long-neck dinosaurs
when suddenly we’re ambushed from behind
by a tyrannosaurus rex
who had taken the form of a bunk bed
the great beast tears off my legs
with a mighty gulp
I drag myself to safety
with my elbows
while Ian destroys the t-rex
with a somersault-roundhouse kick
to baseball-slide combo
when his dad got back from the store
I was covered in dust from head to toe as
Ian spewed an endless stream of incomplete sentences
with copious amounts of gestures
in an attempt to regale his dad with the details
of our epic adventure
sprawled out half-dead
in the middle of the living room floor
sneezing with bloodshot eyes
happy to have followed a leader of true vision
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
I’ve always hated snakes. Like most honest people. They move weird, have an evil look in their eyes, and generally freak me out.
The cowboy pastor of the church my youth group stayed at on our way through New Mexico told us there were plenty of rattle snakes around. Told us about how he’d chased one down in the parking lot and squashed its head with the heal of his boot. Our youth minister did the only responsible thing a 25-year-old man could do: he took us on a rattlesnake hunt. We all piled into the ten-passenger van with big sticks and went down to the bridge, where we threw sticks and rocks at shadowy areas that looked “snakey.”
There are mice that live in the wall of my room. They nibble and scurry all through the night. Mice are adorable, as comes naturally to all small mammals with the exception of the opossum. But their evil-disease-ridden-vermin. They got into my pancake batter last week and crapped all over it. I had to throw the whole thing out. You know how many pancakes I could have made with that batter? A lot, that’s how many! If I could, I'd squash every one of the little bug-eyed-bastards.
Now I feel bad I was ever mean to snakes. I look forward to the day when this global warming hoopla finishes its work and the rattlesnakes migrate up to Vancouver. Maybe then I could get a decent night’s sleep.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the LORDas the waters cover the sea.