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December 2023

Jesus Sleeping

“A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” 

—Gospel of Mark, 4:37-38a, NRSV 


Late in the game I have come to love it:  

the too-little boat on the curling sea. Mix it  

with all my drinks. Don’t skimp. Every morning  

I need me some of that storm story,  

some of that calm yourself, small fry. Relax.  


All those years I did not relax: loving  

too many doomed people keeps you taut.  

Good mornings drooped when I thought of  

them. Nights were tense. You don’t sleep well  

when almost all your friends are going to hell.  

Not a Man

God’s not a man and that’s important. But  

if he were here’s how he’d be: scrawny,  

don’t you know, and with bad eyes from all  

that reading after the angels have gone to bed.  

Stuttering too? Yes, I think so. Humble  

as the imperfect should be but seldom are.  

Around him you’d feel no urge to suck dimples 

into being, bite on your bottom lip. Flexing and  

mascara would be as though they’d never been.  

Pushing up his thick glasses yet again and  

looking so funny you sob, he’d fumble, highly 

distressed, for a tissue. Between you two on the  

bench nothing would set up its frightened wall.  

Bryana Joy

Bryana Joy Photo.jpg

Bryana Joy’s poetry has appeared in more than 50 literary journals. She teaches regular online poetry workshops and her full-length collection Summer of the Oystercatchers is forthcoming with Fernwood Press. 

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