Jac Nelson

PROPHET NARRATIVE

((Do you know about scribal error? A scribe copies a manuscript by hand, and makes errors,

creation errors, which are left like tunnel worm traces in the True Document.))

 

When Jac Nelson’s father visited Jac Nelson’s grandfather at the Station for Temporary

Beds, the former told the latter

 

this time you’ll have to stay.

 

Not exactly, they moved the latter from the Station for Temporary Beds to the Station for

Permanent Beds, “closer to home,” Nelson’s sister reports,

 

the whole thing was comical.

 

After the police officers had lifted Grandpa off the floor again (again again again, he had

maxed his officer assists), the latter’s wife checked the box in the Social Worker’s office:

 

[He’ll have the] Station for Permanent Beds.

 

“Tell him now” [Social Worker]. “I can’t.” Grandma stared out at the flat horizon, “birds,

whatever,” the strongest man down, Grandma disappeared into the carpet instead of

Grandpa, who pissed himself in his chair.

 

The Social Worker telephoned the latter’s first son, who checked the same box in the Social

Worker’s office:

 

[He’ll have the] Station for Permanent Beds.

 

“Tell him now” [Social Worker]. “I won’t. Every time I pick him up it hurts me I hurt him

more. Jesus Christ a grown man. I won’t.” Uncle offered everyone a Bud, “it’ll get you,” the

strongest man down, Uncle closed his eyes, no great question, just close your eyes.

 

((A True Document is a skeleton key, and unlocks the storehouse of knowledge, sweet

dropped-leaf aroma, golden unlight, who knows about Freud and allure. In the course of her

career, every scribe makes a creation error, at least one, now True Documents proliferate.

People believe True Documents.))

 

“Time to laugh,” Nelson’s sister reports.

 

When the Social Worker asked Grandpa would he like a Permanent Bed? would he like to go Home?

said the latter, “mashed potatoes,” whose second son [Nelson’s father], finally submitted. He

opened his mouth and he took in the scroll, which set his whole mouth on glorious fire, and

when the LORD asked him what do you see Amos? he said

 

a basket of figs.

 

“Go and tell him now” [LORD].

 

Things got really funny, how Grandpa refused to talk to his second son, like an animal

whose already recognized your approach before you’ve arrived, he stared into the flat

grey soup of his own blue eyes and held onto his skeleton key, “mashed potatoes,” a True

Document of happiness. “Pop, this time you’ll have to stay” [Amos]. Not exactly. After the

dinner alarm sounded through the halls of the Station of Temporary Beds, after all the latters

groaned and reached for the golden reward, after Grandpa swallowed his skeleton key, the

social workers moved him to the Station of Permanent Beds, “closer to home,” the whole

room anticipated at least one fantastic laugh.

 

 

Raised in Minnesota, Jac Nelson lives with her partner in Portland, Oregon, where she translates from Ancient Greek and from French into English. She twice received honorable mention for the Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Prize, and her work is published or forthcoming in the c_L newsletter, Peaches & Bats, Otoliths, Reed College Creative Review, frankmatter and Of(f)course. She earned her B.A. in Classics and Religion from Reed College.

GestureJac Nelson