a voice crying out in the postmodern wilderness

Patients Unaware

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
lack context.

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.


The Boat