Nov 21, 2012

The Centurion Divulges More

Written by John Fenlon Hogan

Read by Ken Taylor

Matthew 8:8

Lord, I am the last person you’d want
to camp with. The reason I left after Communion:

there’s no place as vicious as a church
parking lot after High Mass lets out. Pain is a kind

of prayer, but so is a lack of salt. Lord, there it is
again. That silence which is not silence at the edge

of the island at the edge of nothing, seducing me. Me
gnashing my teeth. Me lashed to the body like a mizzen

mast. Lord, I’m all for pillow talk, but some of us need
to go to work in the morning, some prefer an absence

of light, and some have begun to cram our ears with cotton.
Most days I feel like everything I do is a variation

of picking cotton: pulling on my trousers, taking off
my trousers, going to buy new trousers. Lord, I worry

I don’t pray enough and other times too much
to you and not the Holy Spirit in all of its alien

nature. Here in the pews, the bite of cilice on thigh
is like a lick of fire magiked into a manacle, or else,

duller now, like a variation on the Indian burns
my brothers twisted into me in the back seat

of the minivan. The incense that is burning tangles
with the light such that when I squint mine eyes

there is an apparition of something vaguely
ghost-like. I’m pretty sure that’s not the preferred

method of getting there, but there is little about me
I have ever preferred: not my taste for chopped liver

nor my ability to eavesdrop on angels. They say examine
your zipper
, by which they mean they envy the flesh.

Today was another day where beauty came at me
briefly, like those moments in class where the kid

to my left nods his head knowingly. He wants everyone
to know that he knows what the persons-in-charge

are talking about. I get it. And Lord, if I knew you were
there, listening, there would be no solace in any of this.