It’s Easter morning and the car won’t start.
I’m witnessing this hopeless scene as April’s
wind gusts bring my sable dress to life.
I’m the stubborn bud that doesn’t open
as the miracle of spring sweeps over—
miles away at church as Jesus rises
from the dead, again. I sigh, resigned,
imagining the service now beginning
as it plays out in my wistful mind.
The plate gets sent around. My husband cusses,
rolls the sleeves up of his last good shirt,
leans beneath the hood and settles in
for an afternoon of finding out
what the hell went wrong with this, our bucket
of rust and sin. Together, we can fix
anything, he thinks. He’s full of faith.
I’m full of doubt. He asks for tools, a wrench,
a ratchet, and a hammer that he’ll use
for smashing our frustration into pieces.
I know the drill, this common ritual;
we’ve grown accustomed to it with a car
that’s always on the fritz. The clock ticks on.
Now, we’re missing it, I’m sure. The choir
must be belting out a halleluiah,
as the grackles all around us squawk.
Hipster Jesus rises from the tomb,
guitar in hand. I fiddle with the sparkplugs
praying beneath my tongue that this will work.
The preacher stands before the congregation,
minus us, declares the miracle
of resurrection once again, and though
I’m far away, I feel a certain stirring
in the heart. The car begins to cough
before the weary engine roars to life.
My husband laughs and takes me in his arms.
I wipe my grease-stained hands against his shirt
that mark it like stigmata of our morning,
breathe in the scent of him, his best cologne
mixed with sweat and gasoline and joy.
He says, fuck church. It’s crowded anyway
on Easter. Let’s get ice cream, love, instead.
Katherine Hoerth is an Assistant Professor of English and Modern Languages at Lamar University and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Lamar University Literary Press. Her work has been published in journals such as Georgia Review, Atticus, and Valparaiso Review, among others. Her poetry collection, Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots, won the Helen C. Smith Award for the best book of poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. In 2018, she was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. She lives in southeast Texas.