The things of this world do not seem
to be going according to plan.
For one thing, the altar’s on fire.
The pastor hasn’t noticed, thinks
the audience is unusually moved
by his words his sharp suit the way
his thick hair waves at a part
so straight the Israelites could pass
through to the Promised Land with
out detour. A man in back has gone
for the fire extinguisher while
we like sheep look to one another
to gauge reaction. Shall we finish
the final hymn? Remark on the too
obvious symbolism? No, let’s throw
our bodies on the flames Old Testament
style like a people uncivilized by bulletins
and keyboards and cupped ceiling
lights but living in the raw wind, the
hunger, the sand in our upturned faces.