Missions Trip

Amanda Smeltz

Say service trip when you don’t love the missionary
position. Bend me over
for better vision.
That baboon ass God-given.
I want to distribute no good news
if it’s tweezered and pruned
or little hole cut in a nuptial sheet.
The world is replete.
The end is nigh.
This missive hand steals up your thigh.

The word of the Lord goes out from the mountain.
It waters the land.
It melts in my mouth
but not in my hand
which devoted I cram up a gospel puppet.
This biblical Muppet has things to say
about our lives of sin and shame
and the freeing power of Jesus and mime.
This white light of mine:
I’m gonna let it shine.

I shine into the jungle.
I sing through a tree-trunk hall.
The banana leaves glisten
with a listening pall. I want to face
backward and sing sanctuary.
Tupac spits down from the choristry.
All indigenous eyez on me.
This white woman’s voice is like a TV star’s.
Haven’t you seen her on American Idol?
A modest sheet dress on American Bridal?

The Shipibo teenagers in mosquito nets
are having superlative teenaged sex,
grateful for the western tents.
Repent! Repent! The end is nigh,
red hives littering foreign skin
like the lights pepper-sprayed
on the southern skies.
A thousand shooting stars every hour.
The end comes bearing a mosquito shower.

A houseboat slugs up the tributary,
bearing abstinent missionaries.
Pink dolphins surface in the Ucayali.
Bufeos! Mermaids!
Dolphins mating in the flood season waters.
They were unwanted daughters
who walked off village cliffs.
Now they drift in Amazon streams.
All that unmarried daughters seem
are snub-snouted mammals in a dream.

The faithful young put on a skit
about enojo, orgullo, y sexo,
how these are knit in our bodies,
our prisons.
We’ll mime it out, we’ll be stuck
to chairs. The locals watch us unawares
of what the blazes the strangers mean.
The word of the Lord feeds mountain streams
like rain on bananas. My baboon ass red.
The word of the Lord
won’t get out of my head.

This shit is bananas.
The flora agleam.
The Shipibo song scale that casts and careens.
The little girl gets me by the hand
to her family’s hut to baptize me.
I translate for God.
We pray in town squares.
The word of the Lord won’t get out of my hair.
It’s like lice or like fire ants, hormigas in trees.
There are only two ways
I get down on my knees.
My thoughts are not the thoughts of God,
but the word in my mouth is like snow.

I melt onto the jungle leaves.
The jungle leaves Christians with joy.
The communion of saints knows few borders.
With conjugal sheets we mark out boundaries.
My mouth is replete with cypress and myrtle.
My tank is completely full. God will
abundantly pardon.
My white light
will bring forth the garden.

I’m tripping on missions.
The objective is clear:
be witness to nations far and near, but I’m too busy
bringing up the rear, getting high
in the choristry. How can the devil
take a brother if he’s close to me?
Get closer to me in the mosquito tent.
Get compassionate. Get bent.
The bufeos go splashing through the tributary.

This is a good-news tribute. Then
sings my soul to thee. The mountain
snow rains down on me.
Holy, holy, holy.
The emissions restrictions
are high, like me in the clerestory,
like moaning in jungle leaves. Get hot.
Get equator. All eyez on me.
The emissary with empty hands
didn’t quite get the Lord’s commands.
I spit the word out of my mouth.
I want it to water the land.