old time religion

my parents were screaming

at each other

in Baptist curses

doors slamming

phones torn asunder

sounds of a home splitting apart at the roofbeams

my father throwing the floor model television out the front door

and one frightened sister

smuggling me out a bedroom window to another protective sister

that may not have all happened on the same night

it was so long ago &

this wasn’t constant

not your average weeknight at the Young’s house

but it’s always the first time

that matters most

Dinner at the Sizzler

if purgatory

is a soup kitchen line

in a catholic church

hell

is serving up grub

on the corner of 8th & vine

southern baptists

pulling up

in their tax exempt jesus wagon

to serve homeless people

hot chili in july

heaven, happens

in Cincinnati

when pigs fly

paper dolls

Critic: “Your poetry has taken on religious overtones as of late…”

Me: “Yes, as have I.”

Critic: “Why?”

Me: “I suppose it is a condition arisen from having played paper dolls with death my entire life…”

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