Paige Sullivan

My Father as a Series of Biblical Characters

I.  Judas

You will betray me
on Thanksgiving weekend, after we are seated—​
a family by candlelight, toasting with champagne,
coffee with homemade whipped cream. A wrist
aches from making it.
You will slip into my stepsister’s room at night,
her eyes will open like silver coins.
We will all feel rust forming in our blood,
unsure in the morning of the twinge
in our sides, why the houseplants are gray,
the source of the swinging shadow below the pines.

II.  Jonah

We will cast you into the sea.
You will throw back five years worth of letters
in cobalt glass bottles that we line along garage shelves.
Brine will seep into the ribs of the cell walls
of your benthic waiting room, where you’ll wrap your head
in seaweed, muffling the silence of that whale temple,
how it slips through waves and currents no one can follow.
Your prayers will echo off the walls, back to your ears,
for there will only be