Jesus in the Bible Belt

Alyssa Prather

Crosses hang on every door 

With a Bible in every room. 

Sweet tea is paired with a whispered “Amen” 

After bowed heads come up for air. 

But you won’t find Jesus in the Bible Belt. 

  

You won’t find Him 

In the shifted eyes  

Of fast-walking people 

Who pass a man with a still chest 

And track marks on his arm, 

A fly on the wall. 

  

You won’t find Him 

In the new, money-sewn clothes 

Of a white man  

Who scoffs at cardboard signs and  

Outstretched hands 

And tells them to work harder. 

  

You won’t find Him 

In the fiery words of a preacher 

When he tells his congregation to  

“Resist homosexual impulses  

Or be dragged to the fiery pits 

Because that’s God’s word” 

As he looks into the rainbow-colored heart of his son. 

  

You won’t find Him 

In the tears  

Of a young girl 

As she is pelted with trash 

And called a terrorist 

In the halls of a school 

Where she should feel safe to practice 

Any religion she chooses. 

  

You won’t find Him 

At Ms. Christina’s  

Where the sheets 

Aren’t for beds 

But for people 

To make more clear what tattoos 

Of swastikas  

And white power do not. 

  

You won’t find Him 

In the barrel of the gun 

Pointed at a jogging Black man 

Or in the hands 

Of a man driving his truck 

Into crowds holding signs reading 

Black Lives Matter. 

  

Pack your bags 

You poor, lost soul. 

Try to find your Messiah here 

But trust me when I say 

You won’t find Jesus in the Bible Belt. 

Spring DEI 2022