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Poetry Illustrated :: Kristin Berkey-Abbott

To kick of National Poetry Month on the blog, I offer this delightful poem by Kristin Berkey-Abbott from her book Whistling Past the Graveyard (Pudding House Publications, 2004). It has been featured on Writers Almanac as well as on countless other blogs and sites over the years. Through sheer literary luck, NewPages just happened to have an illustration (by Karen McGinnis) in the Uncle Frank archives that matched the poem perfectly. I contacted Kristin, and she gave her approval for the match and posting here. I think Grant also would have approved. Happy Poetry Month!

Heaven on Earth
by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

I saw Jesus at the bowling alley,
slinging nothing but gutter balls.
He said, “You’ve gotta love a hobby
that allows ugly shoes.”
He lit a cigarette and bought me a beer.
So I invited him to dinner.

I knew the Lord couldn’t see my house
in its current condition, so I gave it an out
of season spring cleaning. What to serve
for dinner? Fish— the logical
choice, but after 2000 years, he must grow weary
of everyone’s favorite seafood dishes.
I thought of my Granny’s ham with Coca Cola
glaze, but you can’t serve that to a Jewish
boy. Likewise pizza— all my favorite
toppings involve pork.

In the end, I made us an all- dessert buffet.
We played Scrabble and Uno and Yahtzee
and listened to Bill Monroe.
Jesus has a healthy appetite for sweets,
I’m happy to report. He told strange
stories which I’ve puzzled over for days now.

We’ve got an appointment for golf on Wednesday.
Ordinarily I don’t play, and certainly not in this humidity.
But the Lord says he knows a grand miniature
golf course with fiberglass mermaids and working windmills
and the best homemade ice cream you ever tasted.
Sounds like Heaven to me.

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