“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” 

— Matthew 7:11


Broken Blessings


Battle scarred, the executive longs for

rest, vaguely aware of the scythe

of exhaustion, rescued

with illness and

…..a bed.


Shouting down a protest, she hears her voice

contemptuous; understanding

her need to understand,

she reaches for

…..their hands.


Desperate to reconcile, a mother feeds

her own, whose age needs convalesce,

and in those bitter hours

works forgiveness

…..and grace.


Crushed under conflict, their eyes turned against

the wind, a people cry for peace,

electing a debtor

from across a

…..long aisle.


Groaning with all life to brush heaven’s joys —

just to bear a cross — deep prayers earn

fathomless answers

in our broken





There’s a casual lightening, unrecognized

at first, in the wake of a distant shout,

or maybe some unguessed music, as when

a taut and aging muscle suddenly


gives way, the clinking of unwanted iron

slipping to ground. But then a satiety

invades, a strange, familiar character,

and that rune known only in the pulpits’


shadowed casts and smoke-filled libraries turns

to the something real in the here of now.

A velvet veil parts, sweeping the soul

with light from new stars, piloting a dawn


rich with gold through crimson tinctured clouds.

Those open cuts and empty spaces raw

with wind and fever quiet, and the mind’s

needles slacken — not gone, but sharp no more.


New bells ring louder each step forward, each

step more remote from reason, and hands clasp

around an open table where no night

divides. A smile emerges blithe from lines


of furrowed tears, mirrored in every smile

surrounding, and the pardon bubbles out,

like the cool waters of a baptismal font

streaming silver laughter down the face.

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Citation Information

Joshua S. Fullman, “Broken Blessings,” An Unexpected Journal: Joy 5, no. 3. (Fall 2022), 141-142.

Joshua S. Fullman, “Jubilee,” An Unexpected Journal: Joy 5, no. 3. (Fall 2022), 143.

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