They say the Rev. Gillam was never without
his backward collar and walking stick.
Every morning, he clicked about,
touching the silver tip
to the rim of his stove-top hat,
as they passed.
He was slick as snake oil,
raised his scepter in celebration
of womb and soil, sprayed holy water
on unsuspecting tots
like a great sperm whale.
Sundays always burned like hell.
Eyes like angry marbles in his face,
his prayers of sulphur filled the place;
never lukewarm, always hot.
But when a coffin came to rest,
damning stick turned modest crutch,
and eased the common crush of death,
since even Jesus wept.
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