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Good Girl

First it was her size

always the last one on the end

in the class photograph

sitting legs crossed on the floor

hands hiding her knickers


By the time she fell off her bike

under that rotten bus

she’d had chicken pox, measles

mumps, whooping cough, acne,

tonsillectomy, appendectomy


Kids jeered at her: bloody Jew

stinky poo, black Maria, pants on fire

nose as long as a telephone wire

she leered back at them through broken teeth


At sixteen she had an epiphany

someone told her the Messiah was coming

and she would give birth to him if she was good,

kept the commandments – especially the ones

about avoiding obesity and desire – sins of

the flesh and sins of the mind


She stopped telling lies, listening to music

ate once a day, chewed each mouthful fourteen times

then spat some out, couldn’t sleep, read the bible

page by trembling page by candle light under the bed


She’s praying now for a better world

peace, brotherhood, love thy neighbor

repeats the blessings five times, repeat again

God is great, the Savior is coming, be good

wash your hands, clean your mind, he’s coming

soon, tomorrow, feel it, he’s coming


Smiling now she closes the book

gets into bed, blows out the light

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© Johnmichael Simon



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