Grassy Branch Pentecostal Church, Face of Christ on Tin

by William Woolfitt

nailed up, it closes the gape where a stovepipe
passed into the wall. This sheet metal square
a rivet-punched messiah you hope will keep
out the winds, the griefs—with his thin beard
the color of puffball soot, multiflora rose
for a crown. His spooky eyes count the few
gathered here to cut out the prayer cloths,
to pat and squeeze their faith into the rags.
You brave blow-downs, the spreading ice.
Behind his dented tin, the cold howling night
could fray you bare. Holly-berries smashed
into his brow, this flea market savior hides
from you the absences, the ravenous hole.

WILLIAM WOOLFITT’s poetry collections include Beauty Strip (Texas Review Press, 2014), Charles of the Desert (Paraclete Press, 2016), and Spring Up Everlasting (Paraclete Press, forthcoming). His poems, short stories, and essays appear in Gettysburg ReviewThe Threepenny ReviewAGNI, and other journals. He edits Speaking of Marvels and teaches at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.