More to the Point, a Lake of Fire

Everyone wants to go to heaven—even murderers,
my granny says, preaching again of the Apocalypse
and the four unforgiving horsemen. No sense asking
about the vials of plague and suffering, which armies
battle against which, what infidel nation is banished
to dark Perdition or, more to the point, a lake of fire
after their defeat on the plains of Megiddo. Granny
says, There’ll be blood to the bridles of the horses.

Of course by “murderers” she means Kentuckians
who killed her two sons in coal town honky-tonks:
shot to death unarmed since each was as menacing
as the Old Testament God. She is visioning flames, 
a greedy dispersion spreading like an oil slick fire.
You see that here’s one who could shovel on fuel. 
Installed on my blue chenille bedspread, her face
is bare to starshine through a bedroom window,

slant snow aswirl outside the length of our street.
This is what love would offer sometimes in 1962
instead of peace—a Bible story more unnerving
than The Twilight Zone. For my granny, no saint,
it will never be over. There’s letting go and love
turned to whatever we’re left with as she shifts
her gaze from a photograph of John Kennedy
and I hear: First, the moon will drip blood.




About the Author: Roy Bentley’s last collection was Starlight Taxi, which won the 2012 Blue Lynx Poetry Prize and was published by Lynx House Press in Spokane, Washington. Honors include fellowships and awards from the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Bentley lives in Pataskala, Ohio where he writes full-time.