Nick McRae

Exegesis (for Kids)

Judges 3:31


The illustrated books for children never

show the dark blood slicking Shamgar’s staff

or his face contorted, maddened, the oxgoad half-

buried in flesh. His dead will rot forever—


six hundred Philistines—but in Sunday School

the slaughtered oppressors kindly disappear,

Shamgar leaning cool-eyed on his spear

that isn’t one—a blameless farmer’s tool.


I relished every word my teacher read

from her picture Bible, memorized each face,

each judge, each tyrant’s form held fast by paint.


With God on their side, no one counts the dead—

Dylan, years later, taught me that. Erase

the blood, you’re left with mythos: Hero. Saint.


Nick McRae

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Nick McRae

Nick McRae is the author of The Name Museum (C&R Press, 2013), for which he received the De Novo Poetry Prize, and the chapbooks Mountain Redemption (Black Lawrence Press, 2013) and Moravia (Folded Word Press, 2013). He is also the editor of the anthology Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets (Sundress Publications, 2013). His work has appeared in Cincinnati Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Linebreak, The Southern Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Nick serves as associate editor for 32 Poems, poetry review editor for The Journal, poetry coordinator for the Best of the Net anthology, and as a staff member at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.