In a certain Bible Belt town,
Methodist ministers, keeping
with Wesley’s circuit rider tradition,
rotate in and out through baffle gates
while the Baptist preacher
remains a permanent fixture.
During daily dismissal of his bible
school, he shakes hands firmly,
bares teeth wolfishly, fervidly offers
I perceive him hiding behind lip
service, feel his flesh squirm
in my grip. Hold tight my pastoral
impressions lest I’m branded blasphemer.
Elderly sisters, widowed, smell preacher
man’s lust, arrive early Sunday mornings,
keep vigil, soon pass from the scene.
Two years lapse, preacher man thinks
he’s outrun sin when in local woods
the decapitated corpse of Christine, his
unhappily wed parishioner, fingers their affair.
Nearby, her displaced head rests at the foot of
a Beech tree, it’s trunk inscribed,
“Have you seen the yellow sign?”
Linda Kennedy is a musician and choir director working in Richmond, Va. She has taken poetry classes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School and is presently enrolled in poetry courses at the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, Va. She has a poem posted on the VMFA Blog.