Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Dime Priest
I sat with the dime priest on the steps of Saint T's, like a paper cup blown up against a holy statue in a garden.
"I am falling, falling. I am an ice chunk;
My mother the sky has farmed me out to her sister the earth,
Via express delivery."
The dime priest looks over, his huge hands dangling over his knees as if waiting for some greater work.
"What's wrong, Pookie?" he asks me simply, tilting his chin up.
He could have starred in movies.
"The tense has changed," I point out irrelevantly.
"It always does," he tells me with a shrug.
We watch the traffic in front of us, and the clouds above. No stop lights there. No brakes, either.
I love the dime priest. He is so queer and kind.
"Maybe I should say confession."
He looks down and laughs, his broad shoulders shaking.
"I may as well take it from a cat. You don't know what 'no' is, except for just an obstacle,
Something placed out of reach
Just to vex you."
Why can't I marry the dime priest?
I would make sure his vestments were always clean and mended.
He would make sure never to let me fall into the deep end of my heart.
We would fix our favorite coffee;
Always defend each other to strangers,
Never have sex,
And be smiled upon by some god somewhere,
I am a spill, spreading.
He is the quicker picker upper.
"Who is she, Pookie?"
I falter, like a papier-mache bird caught in the rain.
"She is out of reach, like God.
She is funny and crazy, like the commandments.
She rides inside of something else, like Jonah.
Her faith wavers, like the heat over a fire.
She's just some woman I met," I add miserably.
He will look over at me, with those matinee idol eyes
And I will see that he's on to me,
Like everybody's on to me--
And he will know that I love this one,
Just like everybody knows I do--
And I will fall apart on the steps of Saint T's, and he will pat me with his bear paws and say,
"Aw, Pookie, it's gonna be okay."
I will say, into his black shirt, "The tense has changed again."
He will say, "It always does,"
And then he will be
The dollar priest
And I will be
for One Shot Wednesday