A Litany of Lost Things
The dead lay scattered along Highway P;
barn swallow, deer head.
The cat that made it across the ditch
is wondering where I am going.
If You Die Tonight:
Heaven or hell?
This warning is a vortex: I am in the seventh
pew from the altar, fourth grade.
Father Ron says it’s a sin
to miss a week of church.
Confess. I’m peeling white nail polish off my fingernails
and watching the shards writhe through the air
down to the tile-awake to the sudden
cold claws of my teacher on the back of my neck,
“Your tag.” A too close whisper,
strange shoulder squeeze. Confess.
HELL IS REAL.
Once, I dial the number on the sign,
biting my cuticles as each ring throbs through my ear-
and then nothing. Open road stretches out.
I pass a plastic pink kitchen abandoned
in the interstate median, its oven a vacancy.
It does to me what the car crash gong
of church bells do to funerals. Tongues of sting
that toll around: repression.
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT,
JESUS IS ALIVE!
Kneeling amongst my fingernails I study the sculpture
that hangs as a centerpiece. The unraveling human;
his suffering painted red on his hands-
I am waiting to drink his blood
and I feel like I should apologize.
He looks so unhappy, there, head wilted
and not looking at any of us.
I think that I have been doing this wrong for awhile.