Bible Lessons

Javier Sandoval | Poetry

She really is just the sweetest little lady, but she once got her license revoked

for, um, throwing her Bible at a cop car? What’d she even think that’d do?
I had to explain: they usually throw the book at us.
She didn’t get it.

That Bible’s always in her minivan— I never see her open it—

or read it. She just, like, rubs it during traffic, or after bumping over
some pedestrian: Ay, not again, Dios, look after them in heaven.
It’d also be cool, Lord, if you kept my deductible low?

She did crack it open once, after involving me

in a high-speed pursuit with a cop, which isn’t especially fun
when you’re in your mom’s bashed-up minivan filled with crucifixes. Crosses
hanging from the mirror, on the dash, in the glovebox, even spare ones
where the extra tire should’ve been. Every turn, crosses shot at my eyes
like Jesus had finally found me hiding porn in my Confirmation folder.
Meanwhile, she prayed behind the wheel: Dios mio, please let me lose this cop,
make an exit appear right now, and I promise I’ll stop calling Lupita a bitch—
Never mind! One just showed up like a miracle!

She swerved into the suburbs, skidded into the open

garage of a random house. Turning off the van, ducking in her seat,
she told me, Never talk about this, cabrón, —I’ll shoot you in the nuts.
A rather fair request, considering she was chased for speeding cause of me—
only I would oversleep for an afternoon acquittal of earlier bogus charges.
But as the sirens blared close, I only feared her
and what she’d say over tonight’s enchiladas after miraculously plucking us
from this rock-enclosed tomb, like she’s done so many times before.
Oh yeah? I asked, covering my crotch. With what gun?
And how powerful and heroic she looked reaching into the dark
and revealing to me the thunderous love hidden

in the words of God.