TWENTY FOURTH

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Orange rays on the dusty brown road

Unconceal glass, bottle tops and dung

As herd and man move slowly along

Kicking the echoes of liquor sold.

 

Drunken men sing:

The liquor squeezing a cacophony

Of embalmed truths out through their mouths

From dizzy fractions of their brains.

 

My transistor talks of heaven and hell,

Of Peter, Paul, John and Jesus:

The message of a preacher.

His voice unearths memories of Sara and Abram

 

Who were here in this room.

There they stood, over the bed

Invoking the Spirit of God upon

My shivering shriveled self.

 

Brother, come fellowship with us – she beseeched

In the presence of God there’s fullness of joy

There you’ll be healed – he added

Stead I wailed that the fever wouldn’t let me

That I trusted in the anti-malarial pills

And a good rest.

They went alone.

 

That same night this same transistor

Stopped one of its nightly lullabies

To state in a somber smoky timbre that

A hundred people or more who’d gone west

To find their God had been shelled northward.

I wept.

 

Sara and Abram were here

On earth this day the twenty fourth last year.

I weep. I’m here but for my feeble faith.

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