“Just remember, little turdsmith,
The Lord loves all.
We don’t have to earn His grace.
Faith is the answer. And cash,
Through His intermediary, yours truly, of course.
When you become an adult
The circle will be complete
And you can proselytize
With all the charm of a retired senile professor
Giving a lecture on Thomas a Kempis
To a misbooked Glee Club.
Let your sentiment
Percolate like an oldtimers’ choir
Squawking ’Amazing Grace’ for the thousandth rendering.
Communion? That’s for the afterlife
And it’s none of your business
The tax shelters of God
And the varieties of grape and smoke.
Channel your self-disgust
Into a platform bouquet.
Love your coming dentures and go in fleece.”
The minister’s bland smile vanished
As if a director had yelled “cut!”,
His clip-on collar, stained with sweat
The colour of nicotine gradations,
Flung against the tin chalice,
Sagged, a deflated halo.
Ten years old, I gazed over his crown
At Jesus’ face in copper frame
And understood the fashioned borders,
Fixed, rim-rivetted, pinching off
The swinging limbs.