Christina Baumis: Poetry : Nov 2021

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Not a native but I have settled in both Carolinas longer than an eye on a tater. Appreciating over a duo of decades away from kin and my midwestern roots to savor Blue Ridge mountain hikes and white-water rafting somewhere under thick foggy mornings and red clay bursting with rhododendrons while living in the Carolina dubbed North. Then relishing oyster roasts, dragon boat racing, beaches, sweet tea, and Saint Cecilia Society Punch under live oaks while residing in the Carolina named South. My creative writing and poetry has flourished under the saturating humidity and the peaks along the Carolina Continental Divide.

Gift Shop Jesus

Weary bickering traveling families

pull into a gift shop off the turnpike

to browse in search of a cheap memento.


Pecan rolls, rows of shot glasses,

lewd tin humorous signs, bumper stickers,

T-shirts or postcards abound,

and by the cash register

a freezer of individual ice cream treats 

to balm the cranky stiff and contorted bodies.


Yet over on the paneled wall near the bathrooms,

next to black velvet framed paintings of Elvis

are several diagonally cut tree trunk planks

each decoupage with the word inspiration 

under a yellowed sepia muted pensive searching your soul with his eyes 

portrait of Jesus which ends up journeying home

to be mounted on many paneled living room walls across America.