The Family Bible

by Tina Hoffman
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, February 2014
Judged by Robert Lee Brewer


I ended up with it – all the birth
and death records. It is covered
with blood from my Grandma, who was
a diabetic, she’d poke herself,
test herself, and wound up
with the Bible in her bloody hands again.

There are certain passages marked
with colored ribbons, I will never
change them, they were most
important to her. I touch the blood
stains and feel her speaking, even though
I am not sure what they meant to her.

I find them perplexing, pleasing
and peaceful. She still exists
through those bloody fingerprints.
They all thought she was crazy.
I think she was just sad but hopeful
that words would finally make sense.


There's something inherently important about a family Bible. One person's 'crazy' is another person's faith. Two things I really enjoyed about this poem: one, the grandma covering her Bible in her own blood (and then passing it on to her own blood); two, the narrator sharing everything in a very clinical way without tipping her hand as to her own level of faith (or lack of faith). --Robert Lee Brewer

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