Today, I saw an owl fly… well, flung
in the midst of heaven,
shock-eyed, wings wrenched back.
Fleeing or expelled from its branch,
wisdom’s icon burst into view,
glaring, tumbling, glaring, tumbling,
till it shuddered, crumpling on
the short grass.
Looking back up the owl’s descent
path, I beheld a vengeful god,
backed by her mother god agape.
2. Rock Opera Judas
Decades prior, in a similar way,
those who didn’t love a show
banned it. Said my mother,
“The brethren said, ‘This
musical is not of God.
Do not watch it.’”
The first time we watched it,
My chubby thighs apostatized,
moshing between the arm rests
of my chair. Onstage,
Judas lashed the heavens
with his rock falsetto,
singing, dancing my dubiety—
religion as a disco ball.
Yet audibly piercing
his thundering metal aria,
my mother sigh-laughed softly.
3. The Fidgety Elect
Sometimes reverence won’t do.
Then the pious stagecraft
of old school clergy must give way
to the boy who got down with Judas,
and to the little girl who threw
her plush toy owl into the aisle
during sacrament meeting.
“Owl by a Castle,” Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library.
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas at left, photo by: Craig Blankenhorn/NBC