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The John Edward Johnson Prize

Terri McCord



As if faith is certain and tangible
as these organic eggs or grain-fed porterhouses.
But as he hands me a paper sack, he says
it is, he isn’t talking about blind faith, no,
a scientific treatise exists that proves
God created the planet.
He asks me if I need help out, and now
I’m unsure if he means to the parking lot
or with my afterlife, but I let him continue,
follow me as he seeks my answer, my salvation.

His name is actually Grant. I want to leave
Grant and myself with wonder, the kind that accepts
not knowing. We reach the outside,
cars slowed or stopped as if they are ice floes.
                                        I think
of an age when no one knew of another melt,
that two hundred years had to pass
to look back—name seven years in a row
that the River Thames did not freeze solid
by Christmas to declare another time

had begun and one had ended.
I can tell Grant
faith pervades here
outside and in,
that his smile is winning.