They should have separated us,
two elementary elements
volatile when combined.
We’d take tithe envelopes or
prayer cards and write that the
choir director is a toucan and
that that old man is a turtle.
Upon reading the other’s joke,
we’d writhe in church costumes
Mom and Dad had stretched over
our little frames. We would inflate
and smother our mouths, and if
someone let out a chirp
we’d lose control.
We thought we were biding the
time until lunch, and making fun
of ministers apparently sped
up the waiting in the long pine
pews. But as a kid you don’t know
the story behind the story. Kids
As we mocked, God spoke his
medicine to ordinary angels. They
had come with various illnesses:
divorce, death, bankruptcy,
addiction, life in a fallen world.
As they sat receiving treatment,
we made light of it all, unphased
by their unseen tears.
Maybe Mom and Dad knew
what we didn’t, that doctors
tell jokes to children to distract
them from needles. Or maybe they
were distracted by the cold
sensation of medicine rushing
through their veins.