Halfway Between Harmony and Rome

Richard Fein

My eye wandered for glimpses of passing ladies,

my mind downright inattentive, my foot just a bit too heavy on the pedal

till I rear-ended a HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS.

Not a hard blow, more like a slap in the face, but it was a Jesus decal.

The rear fender Messiah stared at me with a slightly dented right cheek.

Our two gasoline chariots needed a soft shoulder and we found one,

and there aside the expressway halfway between the villages Harmony and Rome

the aggrieved cleric-collared driver perused his violated rear fender and wounded Jesus

as whizzing traffic hummed like a muted choir.

And I thought of heaven up high where my insurance rates would surely soar.

Of course I repented my heavy foot and sinful eye,

in this highway purgatory halfway between Harmony and Rome.

But this acolyte of the now dimpled Jesus cared not for worldly things.

My penance was to endure a sermon.

“God has the only accurate roadmap,” preacheth he—

Yea no exchange of licenses, thus in the book of violations nothing was recorded.

And when we departed he led the way, my eyes on the messiah’s slightly dented cheek.

Yea verily not in the fast lane did we journey but on the straight and narrow,

yea double verily slow and steady along the straight and narrow almost unto Rome,

where HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS turned his other cheek down some church driveway.

I honked of course, four or five times, then on to Rome with wandering eye, sinful mind,

but with my repenting foot blessed with a slightly lighter touch.

About the Work

Richard Fein

Richard Fein was a finalist in the 2004 Center For Book Arts Chapbook Competition. A chapbook, “The Required Accompanying Cover Letter,” was published by Parallel Press, University Of Wisconsin, Madison. He has also been published in many web and print journals such as Southern Review, Foliate Oak, Morpo Review, Ken*Again, Oregon East Southern Humanities Review, Skyline,Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, and others. He also has an interest in digital photography, and poetry magazines have published many of his photos. Samples of his photography can be found here.

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