Three Poemsby David Bruzina
Brother Todd and His Flock
The parish babies thrive or fail.
His blessings do the work they always did.
Can’t he just fake the faith and do the job?
Who could know he’s backslid?
He eats a hotdog with the bank manager
and sits in the bleachers at the Mud Hens game.
None of the Dads minds he’s the preacher,
since he doesn’t mind they’re profane.
Ms. Miller likes him maybe too well.
The teenagers still think he’s cool
(though they also still don’t attend
his special teenager Sunday school).
So what, if he can’t feel
the real pressure of God’s touch?
Does what a person believes
quietly inside matter so much?
He performs his offices with prompt devotion,
never mind he’s convinced there’s no God.
If not for their souls, he’s good for their emotions.
Unlike their last preacher, he wants his sheep
Because you would not stop
crying at ordinary sights—
the maple tree gone red on the corner,
the three kids riding their bikes in the street—
I am become, not light, but air.
That’s me riding shotgun.
I am your belch.
Me in the holes of your cheese.
I think of the engineer at the party
squeezing an egg in the kitchen
to demonstrate its architectural properties.
The ceiling creaks and I look up.
In Nebraska, your lover is touching you.
He’s gripping your thighs like a wheelbarrow’s handles.