Michael Graber

When My Friend Lost His Faith
................................for Gordon Osing

When my friend lost his faith
he crept the remaining loan money
from his wife’s checkbook, spidered
past her and the sleeping children
down the gothic seminary hall
where he suffered cosmic
doubt. Guilt cleansed his vision
like wiper blades as he jumped.

He slid down the laundry chute
and landed, two weeks later,
in a grease-splotched trailer
flipping burgers in a traveling
carnival. After hours he served
doubles with cheese and onions
to hoarse singers with names
like Stringbean, Ernest, and Lefty.

When my friend lost his faith
he traded his halo for a paper hat,
his good eye for a wink that sticks,
his past for History, communion
wine for blended whiskey, his
grandmother’s backrash for a poem
about an ear of corn. After a pie
tasting contest, he signed
the necessary papers and switched
his permanent residence
from Heaven to Mississippi.


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