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I Met Jesus in Rehab

 

I Met Jesus in Rehab 

Where else?
Bone dry and reeling, my insides scraped out
like a hollowed gourd.
I see Him: slick-backed, body-wracked, dealing cards
and picking husks from between his teeth.
Jesus stares that stare of the rapt, says,
“The tide is high, the bridge is out, I am the only way”
and I believe him, because I have to believe in something
besides gin martinis, warm beer, cooking wine,
cold medicine, rubbing alcohol, my Uncle Dave and my brother Steve
trussing me up with belts and ties—
the desperate act of the desperately unprepared—
and bringing me here where I will meet Jesus,
who offers a smoke, rules the pool table,
watches Jerry Springer and shakes his head.
“This is not a one-man job,” he says
and I want to sign on, be John the Baptist, Simon of Cyrene,
the carrier of crosses, the washer of feet, the fetcher of cigarettes
and poker chips, anything to stop the pain, the shakes,
the dark visions of my life without booze.
Jesus says, “I forgive you” after I wake to find him on the floor,
legs crossed, arms outstretched, cruciform,
a bruise blooming under his left eye.
You know what he does next: he rises like Lazarus,
turns the other cheek, says he has to go but promises to return.
He scrawls an address on a Styrofoam cup and already I—the prodigal son—
can’t wait to do my time here so I can follow Jesus
to Florida, to his father’s condo in Boca where one helluva party awaits.