The Fat and the Blood : By Paul Cheney

Fall of the Rock of Ages

Artwork by Andrew Scott Wilson

Artwork by Andrew Scott Wilson

I didn’t think too much about the sign
at first. After all, I don’t have the Faith
like a child. Mama said I don’t have faith
enough to trust in gravity. She’s wrong
I think. She didn’t know I just need proof
sometimes. That’s why I didn’t think too hard
about it when that book fell over on
its own while I was sittin’ on the couch
just looking out the window at the yard.
Just fell right over on its own right there
just sittin’ on the book-shelf. On its own,
I thought, without the child faith of course.
Before that, I was thinking pretty hard
about Martha, my wife, or Mama when
I thought, “oh man…oh man!” I thought. That book’s
been standing up since I don’t know when. “Boy!”
I said. I thought it might be ghosts at first
just like any would, I guess, but then
I knew it couldn’t be. No such a thing.
“Jesus is here.” I thought. And then I saw
the title of the book was Rock of Ages.
Now why would Jesus do a thing like that?
Books don’t just fall ‘less Jesus pushes ‘em.
But Rock of Ages? Jesus is the Rock
of Ages. Something’s wrong in that. A house
divided ‘gainst itself can’t stand. “Can’t stand…”
I thought. “Can’t stand, can’t stand, can’t stand,” I thought.
And then I saw my Martha standin’ in
the yard in just a sun dress with her back
to me. Just standin’ looking at the old
oak tree with all those tiny summer bugs
jumpin’ around her knees like they were curious
what was under that dress. I called to her.
Was then I heard the gun I bought for her
go off and Martha fell just like the book.
I never knew so many birds could live
in just one tree.

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