Joan and Johnny in the Garden of Heaven


Last night the fan went round and round. The night had cooled the days desert heat, sticky and relentless against the concrete. Outside the fountain burbled, the girl next door having a conversation with her boyfriend bleeding through the walls. I tell myself a story

A rusted sword propped outside an old western house, next to an old Martin D-35. Joan of Arc and Johnny Cash, sitting in the garden of heaven talking quietly. They call each other Jean.

His hands do not hurt when he plays the guitar. Joan learns to play the opening bars to Daddy Sang Bass. She sings the chorus again and again. He talks about Folsom and the real prison, and she does not speak of Rouen. She does not need to. There are flowers in her hair. The circle goes

Unbroken. God’s word is close now, and it does not burn. They harmonize with Jack right next door. Joan speaks not of war, but the sunshine of Domrémy. Johnny teaches the rolling rhythm of walking the line. Every Monday June Carter comes over. There is always a freshly baked apple pie. Joan’s banner waves gently in the summer breeze.

Last night the fan went round and round, the fountain burbled, and a girl yelled at her boyfriend through the paper thing walls. I like the idea of a country boy from Arkansas singing to a country girl from France in a deep bass baritone.  I dream of

Two Jeans, sitting together in the garden of heaven in the shade of a fig tree.