Fantine: A Poem

by Joel E. Jacobson

When Fantine falls
into the snow, incapable
of making herself
worthy of even the poorest
men, we pity her,
beg her not to sell
her teeth; then
we practically
kiss the feet
of Val Jean
when he swoops in
and snatches her
from the claws
of Javert.

When the harlot
falls before Jesus,
wipes away
the city muck
with her face,
we’ve already
judged and locked
her out–
and we already know
that Jesus
will forgive her
if we’ve been
reading along.

What we don’t know,
sitting at the dinner table
in awkward, interrupted
silence, is the aroma
of forgiveness, wafting
about her empty,
alabaster jar.


This is the final installment of the Storytellers project. Keep your eye out for the chapbook this fall!


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