Unlikely Apostle

On Jerusalemska Street
I happened upon a church
Surrounded by a chain-linked fence
Entering, I found the holy water curdled.
I said a private prayer
For those I love & for those
Hard to bear.
The Masonic All Seeing Eye
Peered above the gilded altar
With an eerie cycloptic stare.
I grabbed my camera
And when I did,

A young priest
With labored breath & tightened jowls
Angrily grabbed my arm,
Directing me to a small “No Photos” sign.
He wagged his head at me,
Holding the opened Word of God
But in my eyes, he never looked.
Over his shoulder I saw the Sacred Heart ablaze
Impassioned
By the scolding priest.
Beside us stood “The Pieta” replica in stone,
One lifeless
One grasping
The Pity
Doubled there:
Once in the Lord
And once in me.

Afterward I stepped into
The Globe Bookstore
Of blood red walls &
Lemon yellow paintings of Modigliani gangly-necked girls
And fat-bottomed nudes.
When I entered the owner’s dog, Bella
Came wagging warmly over to me
As if to say:
“I’m glad you came; I’ve been expecting you!”
A diminutive Parson Russell terrier
And on both sides of her white coat she wore
A heart-shaped spot in sable.

Then, with perfect eye contact &
Never asking for a treat
Bella curled down beside my aching
Feet greeting me with
A holy, ankle kiss below the table.

The Globe Bookstore
Will be my church while I’m in town
With its gangly-necked girls & fat-bottomed nudes
Lining the walls,
Russian poetry & Czech
Coffee will serve as my Communion Feast
And while I’m here
Bella, the dog
For Love
Will be my earthly,
Holy priest.

gjh.

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