Keep Her Out of the Tent

There’s a temporary campground, with a tent,
billowing-white, just off Sprague Ave. in Tacoma.

Keep your daughter home.  Make popcorn with salt,
buttery-warm. Let her watch the Wizard of Oz
on channel 5. Skip the revival altogether as if the Circus
never came to town. 

Shield her from the monkeys.
    Walk her through the flowers.
      Buy her ruby slippers, then
        tell her the truth
and tuck her in.

Just don’t let her smell the sawdust, feel its itch on her innocent knees,
or she’ll kneel before the preacher-god in the afterglow of his indecent


Are you washed in the blood?
    Are you salty, scarlet and scared?
      Will you come without one plea?
        Give all
and surrender?

She’ll tremble in the spirit-stabbing guilt
of original, uncommitted sin until she lifts
her blameless arms in praise of her downfall.

Outside, in the dusty margins, tears
not yet spilled, will mingle with manly moans.

    Only the tent will be temporary.
    Only the preacher will be saved.


Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Bev Fesharaki

Bev Fesharaki is an educator and poet who lives in Mukilteo, Washington. Her work has been published in several journals including Moria, Typishly, Three Elements Review, Duck Lake Books, in an anthology, “Women Writing: On the Edge of Dark and Light,” and on the MONA website.