The last visitor before I sleep
is always the old priest
puffing up the stairs to my door,
a wine cask under each arm,
a loaf of pumpernickel in his teeth.
He’s always too late to give the last rites,
and even though I’m usually dead by then,
it falls to me to console him.
So I say, “Father, Father,
you don’t have to hurry.
Faith is no longer a klieg.
It’s a night light left burning all day,
and its bulb is hissing.”
first appeared in print in
475 Riverside Drive, Room 405
New York, NY 10115
November 6, 2009