Recent Work By Devin Campbell



I Found Jesus on a Billboard


Driving North on 95 my eyes were
nystagmic and numbness shot from
the tips of my fingers in South Carolina
all the way home to West Virginia.


Forty-eight-foot-wide bulletin selling God:
Worried? Jesus offers security.
There he was, palms outstretched, mighty supplicant!


I unclenched my jaw and saw my skin was not so scaly as
the night before—the lines of my hair not so sharp now.
Prayer can be turned over
and inspected again rather than
prated and pounded, in and in and in.


I thought about Father David in his waist-high waders,
cradling the back of my head
pinching my nose and plunging me—
the chlorine water didn’t smell like it had anything to do with Jesus.


I thought about the puckered Baptist spectators with hand fans,
beads of sweat cascading away from silver hairlines.
I thought about the Sunday School teacher
who hugged me when I came out sopping,
I thought about the dark circle my dripping hair made on her
holy bosom.


The congregation of tail-lights in front of me flashed Amen.


When I rolled the window down
the smell of burnt rubber filled the Civic—
crisp air lapping my face and pushing my hair back reminded me
I hadn’t slept in a couple days, and I smelled bad.