During my father’s sermons, I would read
about my namesake and the men he killed.
My favorite was the story of the giant,
Which most children know: how the lowly
Shepherd gathered stones, and with the slackness
Of the sling becoming taut, arced one straight
Into the soldier’s forehead, crushing it instantly.
Less famous is King David’s murder of Uriah,
Husband of Bathsheba, whom David saw bathing
And wanted for himself. And when he was with her,
Inside her, I wonder if he felt the phantom weight
Of a stone in his hand as he cupped her breast.
If he saw the giant’s face, bone and flesh caved in,
As he finished into her. This is what I thought about
until my father gave the benediction, when I would shake
his hand beneath the church belfry, waiting for my eyes
to no longer see the giant’s face in the floating dark
As children sucked on onion leaves in the lawn.
D.E. ST. JOHN is a poet residing in Atlanta, GA. He teaches at Georgia State University while working toward a PhD with a concentration in global Anglophone poetry. His creative work has been featured in the journals Hunger Mountain and Prairie Schooner.