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Sunday, May 07, 2017


by James Bettendorf

Detail of poster for The Young Messiah film.

Imagine Jesus is alive again.
He has to go to school,
it’s the law.
The kids tease him
his hair so long,
Are you a boy or are you a girl? 
He hears the judgments
echo in his head
as he walks home
to build furniture
with his immigrant father
while his mother
takes in wash
so they can eat.

He is smart, hides away
in his teen years, builds
a robot of wood and spare parts
from the appliance junk yard.
He covers it with silk and denim
so it looks like a real person
When his real father says

          IT IS TIME

he substitutes the robot
so he can avoid the pain
and won’t have to roll
the stone again.

He goes on to star
in Hollywood comedies
as a transgender female.

James Bettendorf is a retired math teacher who recently completed a two-year poetry internship at the Loft in Minneapolis  after having taken many classes over the years.  He is a member of the Forward writing group at the Loft.  James has been published in Rockhurst Review, Common Ground Review, Verse Wisconsin and Light Quarterly as well as the last eight volumes of Talking Stick.