The adults spoke in tongues
at evening services according to my aunt,
and they tried to cure my grandfather
of cancer with faith healing and nonsense.
He died soon enough, and they continued
to speak in tongues, freaking out the children
who bore witness to their mad faith
in Jesus Christ who died for our sins
and made us wretched, blind seekers of miracles
not performed by men in the moth-ball stench
of leisure suits whose sermons left us
all fucked up enough to speak
in atheistic tongues against
the same preachers who told us
my grandfather was cured
on the eve of his premature burial
inside a hillside overlooking
Hollywood, where they make
happy endings come true,
but not for people who are
confined to a fool’s eternal paradise.
I got kicked out of Sunday School
when I told all the other children
that Jesus died a long, long time ago
and, much like my grandfather,
Jesus was never coming back.
is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press). Recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, Cultural Weekly, Literary Orphans, Main Street Rag, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Spillway, The American Journal of Poetry, The Cape Rock, and Trailer Park Quarterly, among many others. A nominee for Best of the Net and the Pushcart, he lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.