POETRY
Father Bob
J.D. Scrimgeour
Writer of the Month

It was the night we were told we couldn’t pretend we were Catholic.
The priest turned only toward you and said, “It’s between you and God.” 
And you cried. 
 
I hope we didn’t shake his hand before we walked into the night snow
for the long walk to our apartment where we had a dresser in the closet
and a computer heavy as death.
 
The flakes surrounded us; the wind scraped our cheeks. We were almost lost. 
Snow, wind, block after block, past a sheet hanging from a dorm’s window
with black words: “FUCK IRAQ.” 
 
We hoped the sweet shop was open, so we could buy peanut butter balls, 
and then we overheard “Bush bombing Baghdad.” 
The war had begun. 
 
Your scarf so red it seemed alive, your thrift store black coat darker
than the purple night. The snow deepening, thickening.  
The sweet shop was closed. 
 
A car, and another, swerved its headlights across the long white field
where, soon, a tent city of protest would arise,
mud and Frisbees.
 
Can you see our little house? Its olive green
Showing in the streetlight as we came up the alley to the back steps
and unlocked the door— 
 
into the tiny kitchen that we could hardly fit in together. 
Taking our shoes off, slush ribbing the floor. It wasn’t late, 
but it felt late. 
 
It felt like the only thing to do was lie on the futon, under the covers, 
and listen to the radio, to words we didn’t want to hear, falling.  
Our country less our country, and more our country.


J.D. Scrimgeour is the author of the poetry collections The Last Miles and Territories, and he won the AWP Award for Nonfiction for Themes For English B: A Professor’s Education In & Out of Class. With musician Philip Swanson he released Ogunquit & Other Works, a CD blending music and poetry. His third poetry collection, Lifting the Turtle (Turning Point), will appear in November 2017.