Sunday, October 31, 2010

Animal Sanctuary

For Gavin

I’m sure your rabbits will be happy there.
Yours sounds much friendlier than mine—
That asylum I was once placed in—
Church: a clean, cadaverous Baptist
Interior, supported by dark ribs,
A space capable of accommodating
A thousand souls according to the fire
Code restrictions. It was Hell. Our
Choir sang hymns in satin pajamas, blue,
Piano on the left, organ on the right,
A madman in the middle. I would poke
Holes in his upholstery with a pencil
I kept sharp for that specific purpose.
I longed for an Apocalypse—a really
Loud fart—a nuclear catastrophe—
A final trumpet—to put an end to the
Announcements—meetings, births, deaths—
Epistles to the Galatians, Colossians,
Galoshes, Dalmatians, and the wrinkly
Sound of hands, in unison, just
Flipping pages. It went on forever.
The Lord’s Supper proved such a meager
Meal, hardly even a snack, really—
Matzo fragments and a thimble of Welch’s
Grape juice—which I was forbidden. (I
Was not baptized.) I wanted to get
Out, go to McDonald’s, anywhere,
For lunch. I poked the pew impatiently,
I drew a zillion pairs of Golden Arches—
MMMMMM—in the back of my Bible—
Filling up the white end pages—those
God left blank after Revelations. I
Loved the hymns. I loathed the sermons. They
Ended with Amens at one, with my
Stomach angrily growling. That’s why
I am so glad you’re adding your own
Ecclesiastical flair to that Maui
Sanctuary. I bet communion in
Any safe haven you would devise
Would keep demented parsons out, but still
Admit a few strange boys in bunny suits—
Those looking to gnaw on a raw carrot,
Or thirsty for some unusual tipple,
You would smile and generously provide.

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