Atheist Blows Up Baby Jesus
Walking through sleepy Christmas-Eve Milwaukee,
go by house where no one’s home but
Outdoor life-size inflatable Nativity Scene is illuminated,
Inflated Mary & Joseph, inflated Wise Men and inflated gifts,
inflated shepherds, farm animals and stable,
inflated angels with inflated wings and halos,
inflated Star of Bethlehem, inflated manger
but baby Jesus is deflated!
So I spoke to the deflated baby Jesus
I might be an atheist agnostic nature worshipper not a Christian
yet I would kneel and blow up and re-inflate you
and patch the leak or re-plug the air spigot
for doesn’t baby Jesus say as much about love
than all the words Christ said?
Kneeling down discovering spigot open
I gently blow air inside Jesus—
cold winter Wisconsin fresh air
inhaled into my lungs and exhaled into Jesus—
Hoping no neighbor calls police or shoots me!
I’m not a terrorist who explodes Nativity Scenes
but an atheist who blows up deflated Christ-child.
Now you look like a baby again, Jesus—
your eyes of wonder and wisdom gaze up at me.
Here, let me tuck you in, little one.
It’s okay your mother and father and the rest
don’t acknowledge me or thank me.
Even you remain silent looking up at me.
I understand, little one.
We’re all looking down at you
Milwaukee Poet Laureate 2002-2003 Antler recently had poems in Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Blue Collar Review and Napalm Health Spa. In April 2012 he was keynote poet at the National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference in Chicago and was recently invited to be a featured poet at Sarah Lawrence College’s annual poetry festival. “Atheist Blows Up Baby Jesus” first appeared in his latest book Touch Each Other (FootHills Publishing, Kanona, NY). Then online in Verse Wisconsin, whose editors just nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. An interview with Antler appears online in the Fall 2013 Verse Wisconsin: http://www.versewisconsin.org/Issue112/prose/antler.html. For more on Antler: www.antlerpoet.net