An Unknown Prophet’s Complaint Regarding

the Tardiness of the Messiah (c. 200 B.C.)


The milk has soured. The honey? Gone.

The widow’s oil has all run out.

The glory that you promised us

left in the night like Pharaoh’s son

while we ate bitter herbs.


When we took wives and lay with them

you punished us because their blood

Was Philistine, but what grave sin

Did we commit that you would send

This storm of hollow rain?


You carved your name into our hearts,

Like boys will do in sycamore,

But wood is scarce, and that tree limb

And all our swords became the tools

We use to scratch the earth.


If sacrifice began again

And blood and flesh were placed upon

The holy fire, would all that smoke

Climb Jacob’s stairs to only find

That you had locked the door?


“How long, O Lord?” the prophets ask,

But we have lost all track of time.

Instead of days, we measure life

By promises left unfulfilled

And wounds that cannot heal.


So take your time deciding how

You’ll save us all—a flood, a fire,

A brimstone rain—and while we wait

Perhaps we’ll find just what it is

That we need saving from.


by Jason Leslie Rogers





I stand with an unfocused stare

at the ground and the bleeding bird,

surprised by my aim and the weight

of the gun pulling down my right arm,

surprised by the woman who runs

from the porch at the front of her house.


I saw you she says through the tears

in her throat as she points at my feet

where the woodpecker lies.


I saw you she says looking down

at her wrinkled bare feet

through a gap in her pale spotted hands.


I saw you she says looking up

at the hole in the pine tree

the red-crested father had bored

while she listened and watched and

smiled through the first weeks of spring.


I retreat to a home full of ignorant faces,

to a lunch of sweet tea and the cold

meat of birds, while deep in some pastoral

hell the bleats of unseen lambs echo

and King David remembers Bathsheba.


by Jason Leslie Rogers




The Rain Comes


Inside your four walls,

the first rumble sounds

and you ask those nearby

if they heard it too.


Out of doors, if you have the gift,

there’s a smell, a thickness

in the air, just before

it hits the ground around you.


Inside, alone, the white noise

pulls words from your mouth,

“Here it comes,”

you say in hindsight.


Outside, the cold droplets

move toward your planted feet.

Like locusts, they’ll bring change

To everything they touch.


by Jason Leslie Rogers 



Jason Leslie Rogers lives in southeast Tennessee with his wife and daughter. He will graduate in December 2013 with a B.S. in Liberal Studies, writing and literature emphasis, from Lee University. He has not previously been unpublished.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud