The John Edward Johnson Prize
Brother's Mess of Crosses
Converted at 16, when the dummy train
derailed to tip across his pregnant wife.
A holy roller, a Carolina spinner,
a brush arbor caller, an off-key gospel singer.
He took red paint to moonshine jars, boulders,
pine trees, fences, and the neighbor’s pig.
His front plot, he planted a mess of crosses
and his own monolith with river rocks.
He didn’t pay no mind to section leaders,
howled his only boss was the man in heaven.
He sent 10,000 message bottles down the Reedy
River, dreamed of taking Jesus to Mars and Jupiter.