CAPPUCCINO & CHRIST
is held in sparkling gym, guitar plugged into amp,
slick band stage and hoopla in place of the pulpit’s
obsolete dark skin, high above no stained glass
electrifying the pierced Christ Cross but walking track
and elder hawk camcording the chirpy guitar-led
version of the Lord’s prayer and this can’t miss feeling
at half court, free throw line, or where I am at, late, mute
heckler, behind the players’ bench, if it were here,
of the ridiculous. Somehow I miss all that rigid,
straight-back stuff the pews afforded, the drifting off,
the gruff message in one ear and out the other,
until what took hold was that rougher silence,
what this closing to the tune of Yesterday can’t mean,
an eternity of wistfulness that matches this baby blue paneling.
For some reason, I keep thinking about the old narthex
before the tornado did a million numbers on it
when mother let me sit in the back with the ushers
that one Sunday when I decided to heave the oak doors
and saw Ralph Winton, like a gangly second-string center,
crying against the great wall of our Lord Christ,
my father’s arm around him as the choir sang the Offering
the Wintons, who year in, year out, we vacationed with,
Hilton Head, Seaside, Destin, those mythic names
of healing, their marriage ended, my eye doctor cuckolded.
All through the sermon I threw rocks at birds
while they smoked and talked until their talking
talked them back down to a god of small things,
like who had won, who had lost, and why.
Billy Reynolds is from Huntsville, Alabama, and is currently a poetry editor for Third Coast.