When I Say Jesus Was My Boyfriend

Erin Adair-Hodges

Spring 2018

I don’t mean that I snuck out my bedroom window,
vaulting over juniper bushes to get to his car
which he’d bought by working summers and weekends
at the Trujillos’ Broken Moon ranch,
tractoring the fields, hauling bales,
and turning a red so deep
it gives up into brown,
                     nor do I mean
he’d drive me through the early winter night
to the lonesome mesa and turn off the engine,
sitting still for a nervous moment before leaning in
to French my face, his eager tongue
a newborn calf struggling its way
to milk, his hand searching my shirt and,
when finding form, cupping my breast, not
with lust so much as reverence,
a jeweler staring through a loupe
at a gem rumored and finally realized,
the radio playing an R&B song filled
with harmonies and breakdowns and, at one point,
talking, a testimony, the deep voice pledging
to do better, be better, love harder,
if given the chance.
                     When I say Jesus was my boyfriend

Erin Adair-Hodges is the author of Let's All Die Happy, winner of the 2016 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. In 2017 she was the Claudia Emerson scholar at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, where she wrote “When I Say Jesus Was My Boyfriend.” Erin is the cocreator and curator of the Bad Mouth Reading Series in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is currently a visiting professor of creative writing at the University of Toledo.

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