Pope Innocent the Last Addresses the Crowd from The Gallows

1 February 2014

As God’s first servant, I’m here to reveal His secret:
we’re entertainment. We’re a spectacle for clouds,

who admire our constant changes and read mystic
meaning into our shifting shapes. For the wind

and waves, who rub us like stones, we’re lucky.
For rain, which loves irony and our laughable,

accidentally effective efforts to erode and exhaust
the world, we’re amusing. For mosquitoes, leeches,

sharks, and crows, we’re fresh fruit. For coyotes
and cockroaches, we’re the best of good providers.

We’re a doomed, mistaken race, a two-part mini-series
on the Evolution Channel: “Species of the Damned.”

Don’t deny the truth: Deity deserted us long before
we designed our Dolls of the Divine and forced

our words into their mouths to frighten our children,
quell our silly fears, vindicate our ugliest ideas,

and invoke a host of winged, blonde, bubble-headed
Barbies to sing an unseen sublime. Tighten the noose.

Check the trap. The drop must be quick and clean.
Do well now what you do best, but mark my words.

My grace is to believe what no other is fool enough
to believe, and I worship, as should you, what I see:

a gutter pool dammed by leaves in November rain,
a finch in a cat’s claws, the yeasty rising of the loaf,

a summer cottonwood crashing into a muddy river
gnawing the bank beneath ragged roots, a black slug

on a sidewalk, an owl, a thistle, a fly, a star so faint
the eye admits the light only at the edge of vision–

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