Cappuccino & Christ

by Billy Reynolds

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 lives in Tifton, Georgia, where he is an assistant professor of English at Abraham Baldwin College. His poems and reviews have been published in CutBank, DIAGRAM, New Orleans Review, storySouth, and Third Coast, among others.