This aberration, sun refracted through
illogical beads of falling rain, up north
they give a pretty name—sunshower—
as if a freak could thus become a flower.
Our Alabama exegesis says
the devil must be beating his wife, enraged
that God created such a beautiful day.
And who is she? Not Persephone—
no, a woman like us, more like to eat
blackberries than pomegranate seeds,
a woman who shops at Wal-Mart (yes, in hell),
a woman with crooked teeth and blond hair
parted brown, who cheers for Auburn though
her parents couldn’t afford to send her there,
a woman who loves her man even when
he reels on her, who screams apologies
for whatever she must have done, anything
to make him stop, a woman who tells the cops
(of course, there are many cops in hell)
that it was a mistake, the neighbors heard
the TV turned up loud, she doesn’t need
their help or shelter, won’t be pressing charges,
and the golden light of heaven burns down
and sparkles through her tears, and the devil swears
it’ll never happen again, and he buys her a present,
a pretty ribbon in seven colors to wear
around her neck, his promise, his solemn bond.
Juliana Gray’s third poetry collection, Honeymoon Palsy, is forthcoming from Measure Press. Recent poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Birmingham Poetry Review, Ecotone, 32 Poems, and elsewhere. An Alabama native, she lives in western New York and teaches at Alfred University.