Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Three Poems, by Rebecca Foust.


Last Supper

On my last trip home you got up at four a.m. to devil the eggs, unshrinkwrap the hot dogs and strip the saran shrouds off the buns, assemble your famous macaroni-and-jello salad for the Memorial Day Barbecue.  You’d called all the relations the week before and they all came, right down to crazy cousin Ritchie no one had seen since he went AWOL before the fall of Phnom Peng; Cousin Wendell (now James) harbored under your wing when it got out he was gay and the family threatened to eat him; Cousin Sissy driving up from Florida in the shot-transmission car some guy on the way fixed and threw in a new battery for two blowjobs; Aunt Norma the erstwhile lapsed whore.  We kids all came, of course, your near-death-unsheathed magnet drawing us in, to eat supper beside but not with you on your prized pressure-treated back deck, built by Uncle Ray.  Who that one day managed to not get drunk until dinnertime.  Then finished off the vanilla extract and fell off your deck into the snail-silvered man-eating Hostas in the long, green grave of your old-fashioned border garden.



Fuck you
if I feel like
pissing up my bedpost
or taking all my clothes off
instead of attending
to my macramé
in the community room.

I’m jonesing for what it used
to feel like, hard, inside
a woman juicy and plump
as a halfshelled clam, not this
dried-up old flapping thing,
saranwrapthin skin
with no nerve endings

left to feel anything;
It’s bad, so bad that I’m
counting the days until my
colonoscopy and I look forward
to deep-tissue gum work
as long as it comes with
an I-pod and nitrous and that

cute young Asian technician. 
Not even a smile
from you, every inch
the bitch nurse. 
I see that I may have to go
one better, use the n-word,
start touching myself,

or maybe just poke your ass
with this dental floss pick,
See, if I can’t make you
shiver with anything more,
I’ll take just making
you shudder
or curse.




I saw Jesus’ face in a jizz stain
on the family room rug; at least,
it looked like his hippie beard
and soulful eyes.  And it wasn’t
the first time—he was there
in the Cheez Whiz swirl
when I opened the last jar,
and in the shape of the tear
in the screen where Ray kicked it in. 
I like seeing Jesus, he seems harmless
enough, the sort of kid-brother-like gull
who’d fall for the line that by
dying in agony you can save
not just some poor ignorant country
but the whole benighted world.

And on yesterday’s hike up the hill
I saw it again, only this time
it was the Pope in profile,
mitered cap and all, bas-reliefed
in the color and pattern
of a Redwood burl.  At least
it was the last one, John Paul. 
Not Benedictus who damned
Mexican judges for allowing abortions
while blessing Mother Theresa’s
pious withdrawal of pain meds
from terminal Aids patients
to encourage remorse for their sins.

But on the sunset descent, I saw
something different at the edge
of the trail; a rock, a charcoal black
bone-oil blot in some precise shape
I could not define. Some totem
Or curse, some sign of time
more ancient and blighted than
could be known by man, Pope, nun,
or Christ.  Some totem or rune,
some curse made sign. Some thing  
that grinned through red-limned teeth,
bits of scalp, and burnt bone



A graduate of Smith College and Stanford Law School, Rebecca Foust is currently enrolled in Warren Wilson's low residency M.F.A. program. Her work has appeared in Atlanta Review, JAMA, Margie, Nimrod, North American Review and South Carolina Review. Her book "Dark Card" won the 2007 Robert Philips Poetry Chapbook award and is reviewed in this issue by R. Nirenberg.


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