“Old Testament Family Tree” by Kid Kassidy

Humid by Joshua Eric Williams, black, gray, and white drawing of scribbles resolving into what appears to be a single large tree

Image: “Humid” by Joshua Eric Williams. “Old Testament Family Tree” was written by Kid Kassidy for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2022, and selected as the Artist’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Kid Kassidy


You know you got yourself a rotten fruit when that thing ain’t even seven years old
Lookin’ on up at you with spooky old eyes, wine bottle glass green like her no-good mama,
Mouth like she drank the whole damn thing.
What’s your rotgut instinct tellin’ you to do—
Take the thing out back with your god’s own shotgun?
Or—but what kinda god would ask you to pimp Issac out like that?
Well, your god eats it up with a knife and fork
Hootin’ and hollerin’ with his big, grabby hands:
Moriah! Moriah! Virgin on a Mountaintop!
But of course the angels, always with the angels,
And now you gotta live with this thing crawling around in your walls,
Reborn from the sons of God and daughters of Man,
Half-sexed and stronger than you, now, that same wild mouth and dark eyes,
A new crazy, angry bite that’s got you sayin’ what was said approximate to you:
Better watch yourself, girl, end up out on your ass!
She laughs. No one ever warned you they laugh.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
November 2022, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Joshua Eric Williams: “I chose ‘Old Testament Family Tree’ because the poet captures the complicated atmosphere of the image with a voice that is not merely conflicted at the surface but is also troubled into searching every confusing layer of disappointment, faith, and doubt without a need to resolve these things, which allows the voice to take on humor as well as withering social commentary alongside sincerity, making the persona even more nuanced and believable.”

Rattle Logo