Williamson Brasfield, Church on the Beach, Calabria, from Cathedrals in the Desert, 2016 (photograph)


And then the Lord said, “Let the husband
contract the Epstein-Barr Virus,” 
and on the fourth day the wife began
to resent the smell coming from the basement. 
Somewhere the cat responsible cried loudly
about losing another claw. The children
were playing diligently all over the place, 
which is to say, two castles and a house
made a long time ago by a local poetry professor
had been dragged out to the deck
and were surrounded by bad guys. 
The drawbridge led into the moat, directly, 
and the dishes piled high
in the sink because the wife had grown weary. 
All she did was read Tim’s manuscript, 
eat figs, rub lotion on her cracked skin, 
and threaten to put her children in cages
if they didn’t stop kicking her folders. 
Go ahead, said the smallest one. It’s easy to get out
of a cage. And I’m going to lock you in a dungeon
with caramel corn. Ha! ha! 

The wife shrugged and squished a carpenter ant
between her fingers. Better it than the house, 
she said. And this from someone who once
considered herself a pacifist. She’d learned
the FBI had corroborated Hillary’s lies. 
One of her children said meeeeaaaat. I’m a meaaaat eater. 
The other said, I tried to be an herbivore
but I failed.
That same child said the angel
will be better off
in the house than in the castle. 
Obviously, the castle’s no place
for an angel.


Maya Jewell Zeller