Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, July 25, 2010


by John Grey

The bell was ringing loudly
when Bill and Eva scrambled up the
hillside path toward the church.
They were the very tail
of the throng pouring in.
Ahead of them were glances this way, that way,
quick summations of just how good
was everybody's else's Sunday best.
He was still tucking in his shirt front.
She was already panicked that
her petticoat would show.
Sure, they had to keep their date with God
but it didn't do to arrive dressed for the devil.
They sat just as chatter turned to prayer,
and the preacher climbed the dais
to his waiting Bible.
Beyond the window, pigeons cooed
to the sermon drone
or waddled clear of boisterous singing.
And then the bells rang once more,
and people left in various stages
of comfort with their judgment day.
Bill and Eve led the pack this time,
he still fidgeting with his shirt,
she glancing down as if a stray
lace seam was a doorway into hell.
What a sight they made,
the couple, then the crowd
and, at the rear, the preacher
closing the church door.
An hour before, religion inhaled.
Now, it exhaled.

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