Monday, May 25, 2015

Pastor Paw-paw

More than 30 years before your
death, you set aflame your
lungs in Dow Chemical cauldrons,

where men were reborn green
skinned if at all. God
rescued and ordained you,

Gospeled the candle of your tongue
privately in your bedroom,
and a public vision ensued:


crossing the dusty river,
a parade of small sneakers,
under Christ's body, carries

Spanish scriptures in shorts'
pockets. "Porque la paga
del pecado es muerte...." Your

grandchildren sing in foreign
tongues, chanting the wonder:
sound flaying calluses off the heart.


To see the person and not the
actor, I must push past
the man staged upon your death

and find you, Paw-paw, behind
the curtain in mundane life.
There, on your recliner,

a meaty hand around a peanut
jar, the other rests with a remote
on your belly. Upon seeing me,

you smile and say, "Hey, buddy."


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