For the Director of Music

In the lakeside bars and honkytonks, Siobhan bleeds Bible. Lips loosened, back straightened by alcohol, she rolls her shoulders loose and relates an oral history, filling her mouth and the ear of anyone who will listen with a barreltoned slangy version of the King James cathedral, Moses and Hosea by way of 1940s noir and parental advisory warnings.

“Fuck the government, fuck the IRS, fuck the goddamn president,” and she’s off, David squaring off with Saul, Satan waiting in the wings with a census sheet in his hands, Christ pulling money from a fish to pay the tax man. Fig trees and human figures seven stories tall with the bottom four all paddlewheel. She dickers, Siobhan does, for beer, for more stories, for friendship, one last Israelite haranguing Miriam outside her tent.

“Faith,” she tells them, “is always a negotiation.” There was evening, there was morning, selah.