by Bethany Bowman
I no longer listen to Christian radio; its choruses pop and sap,
and bellowing, caviling voices of Southern evangelical pastors
make me want to hide or clock someone in the solar plexus.
But this morning, a text from my mom: My grandmother
back in the hospital, “gasping for breath,” “not herself.”
This, the same woman Mom likes to call “The Comeback Kid”—
at 93, pneumonia and congestive heart more times than we can count.
Same woman who, when she knew my parents were driving
out for Easter, sent halfmoon cookies, my favorite;
crabapple jelly, homemade. I didn’t care that the cookies
had been frozen since Christmas; I ate them in one sitting.
The jelly, I’m trying to preserve, a spoonful at breakfast, lick at tea.
As though I can prolong her life, life of the “Comeback Kid,”
through willpower, constraint. I think of her and hope
my sheer delight in her baked goods counts for something,
that when I duck into a thrift shop after work, one I know
will be playing hymns, she sees me clutch the polyester blouse, pray
that verse of Come Thou Fount, one where streams of mercy never cease.
Bethany Bowman is the author if Swan Bones (Wiph and Stock, 2018). She lives in Indiana with her husband and two children, and her poems have appeared in journals including Nimrod, Apple Valley Review, and The Lascaux Review.