Tongues

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Our preacher stalks down aisles
and pews, galvanizing
drowsy parishioners. 
In his severe black suit
he entices and entreats
all to listen to his loving treatise
on the Host of Hosts, 
good God, the purest love of all.

He swoops nearby
and my heart lurches-
will his lucid, living eyes
see, discover, destroy my sin?

Nearby a mesmerized man
fits and starts to life-
his arms flap wild with 
tongue lolling out of his head.
My mother hunches me closer-
my father rumbles:
"It's the spirit of God."
Flying from his pew
the touched man
sings out into the warm,
North Carolina summer night.
Banging through carved oaken doors so that
the congregation still hears his noisy flight
and he circles the church
as if warding off some eldritch notion
with the pure sermon of his body.

The preacher is ominously silent inside-
only crickets from outside sing 
into our terrible, yawning noiselessness.
He finally steps back up to his 
wooden chair and sits.
Looking out into the sea
of concerned faces until
he whispers our names to us,
"Sinners...Sinners...Sinners."

Created: Feb 13, 2012

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