Ronnie Sirmans

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Parable of the Comic Strip

Remember Bazooka bubble gum? Pink slabs wrapped
in paper slick like the meaty side of butcher’s paper?
Bazooka Joe comics printed on the colorful shininess?
One day as a kid when I tore off the bubble gum wrapper,
a breeze blew it away before I could study Joe’s words.

I saw it deposited down the road, and a little bird hopped
next to it, tilting its head as if trying to figure out the joke.
It flew off with the paper, and I imagined the bird weaving
it into its nest, and baby birds waking, their little birdbrains
reading the same Bazooka Joe every day with new funniness.

I considered myself kindhearted, so I tried it one day with
my pocket-sized New Testament, its green cover too shiny
to even pass as fake leather, and ripped out a page to share,
letting it float down the street. No bird came to examine
the gospel or take it to roost. I finally picked it back up,
folded the page, and put it back where it belonged.
And for years, out of habit I’d unfold those parables
of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son:
Lessons nestled on a small sheet of such thin paper.

A Plague of Loveliness

Four ladybugs circumnavigate
the doorknob’s sun-warmed brass.
Several others ignore gravity’s pull
as they traipse up the door’s jamb,
such a purposeful gait walking
on six charcoal-black legs as thin
as splinters cast from splinters.
I knock on the door thrice and
a few tumble like sleepy lice
from a head heavy with woe.
They clamber right back up,
just like the way hope works.
A group of ladybugs is called
a loveliness. Such a nice crowd.
All around, they seek, seem
to be everywhere, on house,
on grass and ground, so all
stays roiling so harmlessly
as if plagues can be tolerable
while the locusts still slumber.

Ronnie Sirmans is a digital editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His poetry has appeared in Sojourners, Christianity Today’s The Behemoth, Jewish Currents, America: The Jesuit Review, and elsewhere.

Image from GIM MAGE via

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