Lessons in Sacrifice

Brandi George
Photo by Johnny Lam

Let’s say you’re a bridge operator                       Mother lectures
you lift for ships          lower for trains                  I’m the only one
in first grade                               when your son catches his coat
in the gears                            whose fingers form the Vulcan sign
for live long and prosper                        you must drop the bridge
and crush him                                 so I make little spring bunnies
saving hundreds                              by dipping my hands in paint
Mother says                                a Witness is chased by soldiers
as self-punishment                           for forgetting they symbolize
Easter       there’s a river          too wide to cross                I walk
barefoot through thistles                            yet he says “Jehovah”
stand in the dark basement for hours                            and leaps
to safety
       the clouds thunder                             whoever sins
against Him                                      will be erased from the book

BRANDI GEORGE’s work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, and Best New Poets. She currently resides in Tallahassee, where she is a PhD candidate at Florida State University and the editor of the Southeast Review.