There must be a church somewhere
founded on love and giddiness
so that when I make an outward sign
you will break into peals of laughter
peals of grace
and when I fall away it is into a vat
of cherry Jello, or possibly apple pie filling
some substance that sustains and delights.
I am filled with gratitude for the safe beginning
the soft landing
the songs sung on a summer’s eve
but red-faced men on the altar
are part of the memory
starched white wimples.
It has been years and I can still smell
the caulk molding around irregular tiles
in the grade school rotunda.
Nothing but inner-city dust now
those black and white photographs
of long-dead popes.
Clarksville, New York, USA