Poetry: Rachel Custer’s “Mercy, Indiana”

Rachel Custer


“Portrait of My Father: #4” by Alejandro Rosemberg


where the lady who owns the liquor store
invites you to church again. double-bagging

your wine box. says sweetie all of us alone
together here. side-eyed in the lunch truck

line we’re Mountain Dew prayers and gas
station Stackers to stay awake. loving the

dirt creased into our old jeans. Mama has
a million stories about some lake somewhere

and we all drank a beer there at least once.
talking about God like he’s sitting right

beside us, head thrown back and guzzling
Bud Light. tosses his empty into the trash

fire. God like any other man halfway gone
to drunk, picking an old guitar and singing

Styx. Hell both here and anyplace but here.


About the writer:
Rachel Custer‘s first full-length collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, OSU: The Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, B O D Y, [PANK], and The Antigonish Review. Rachel Custer is the O:JA&L “Featured Writer” for February 2019. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer officially became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image:Portrait of My Father: #4” by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on canvas on board. 16.5 x 9.8 inches. 2005. By permission.Rosemberg is a hyperrealist painter. Rosemberg is from Buenos Aires where he paints and teaches classical techniques. He attended the National University of Codoba Art School where he received his degree on Fine Arts in Painting. He continued his study of classical painting based on the Italian Great Masters Tradition with Maestro Claudio Bogino. Alejandro Rosemberg is the O:JA&L “Featured Artist” for February 2019.