Melanie Klug: Our Grey House on Atalanta

Spring '13 TOC

was near Spectrum,
the head shop on Big Bend Boulevard,
in Webster Groves,
our Midwestern suburb.


Our grey house
used to be green and still was
on the west side way up high
where the young painters,
art students from Webster College,
said it was the ladder that wasn't high enough.

Our grey house with the green strip on one side,

where we lived, my two sisters and I,
with my mother,
after my parents divorced.

I was ten in 1971.


In our house on Atalanta when I was ten,

I came home one day from school and saw Jesus,
making a latte, in our kitchen, with dirty blonde hair.

His blue eyes startled me.

He told me not to be afraid.
I didn't know Him or lattes
in Webster Groves in 1971.

I was alone with Jesus when our cat meowed
I told Him not to hurt my kitty
He said he wouldn't.
I didn't believe him.

In our grey house in 1971, I didn't believe Jesus.

I was confused.



I asked Him
how He got into our house near Spectrum,
the head shop on Big Bend Boulevard.

Jesus said he slept
in our grey house with the green strip
last night, with my sister,
in the basement.

I called out to my sister,
in the basement.
She didn't answer.

So, I called our Father
from the phone in our house
on Atatlanta where we lived,
my two sisters and I, with my mother,
after my parents divorced.

I told our Father I knew
this man wasn't Jesus.

Our Father told me to run
From this man that wasn't Jesus.

Run across the street to Avery School
in Webster Groves,
our Midwestern suburb.
Find Jerry, the janitor.

I told our Father I was afraid.

The man that looked like Jesus,
but wasn't Him,
might hurt Kitty.

Our Father told me
to put Kitty outside in the yard
of our grey house
with the green strip way up high.

I did.

When I went back into our house
with the green strip way up high,
Jesus was gone.

He left the pan
with burnt milk on the stove,
in our kitchen, in our house on Atalanta.


The next time I saw the man
that wasn't Jesus,
he was on our couch, in our basement, in our house,
with my sister.

He was sticking a needle into the crease of his elbow,
in our basement, in our Midwestern suburb,
with our Spectrum,
on Big Bend Boulevard.

My sister looked up
from his arm
on our couch.

My sister saw me.
She said, "Oh."

The man
with the dirty blonde hair
in our grey house with the green strip
way up high,
waved.

Then the man that wasn't Jesus
fell back onto our couch, on Atalanta,
and his blue eyes closed.

He looked like shaking Jello.

I called our Father again.

I told our Father that He
who really was only a he,
was Jello next to my sister,
on our couch, in our grey house, in 1971.

I was 10.

Our Father said
he was coming over now,
to our house where we lived,
my two sisters and I, with my mother
after my parents divorced


When I went back down into the basement,
my sister and the man,
with the closed blue eyes
and dirty blonde hair,
were gone from our house with the green strip,
way up high, near Spectrum.


When our Father arrived,
he told me never to call that man
Jesus again.

Our Father waited with me,
for my sister and the man
that wasn't Jesus

to come back

to our house, in our little suburb.

In Webster Groves in 1971.
Our Mother was at work.


No one came back that day
to our grey, divorced house,
with the green strip
the college painters left
because the ladder wasn't
high enough.

Our Father left.
Again.
I was alone.

I went to the garage
in the backyard of our suburb
to get my pink bike
with the plastic banana seat
so I could ride past the head shop
on Big Bend Boulevard
to find my sister.

But my pink bike with the banana seat
wasn't in the garage in the backyard,
in Webster Groves in 1971.

I called our Father again.

Our Father called the man,
that wasn't Jesus anymore,
a god damned son of a bitch.

Our Father said
that god damned son of bitch
with the dirty blonde hair
stole my bike.

I wanted Mary, my other sister,
that lived in our grey,
divorced house on Atalanta
to come home.

Where
in our Midwestern suburb
was my sister Mary?

I cried in the grey house
with our unpainted green strip
for Mary.


As I cried
where I lived,

Our Mother came home.
I told her our Father had come
to our grey, divorced house on Atalanta.

Our Mother was silent.

When she spoke, she said,
she didn't know who Jesus was.

Our Mother didn't know where
in our Midwestern suburb
Jesus, our Father and my sisters had gone.

::TOC::

Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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