Chained to a chair among distant peers
who see me a shrub among the playboys
who pleasure their palates. I bury my
ostrich head in my phone and wander
aimlessly about the Internet veiled
with determination to deceive any nosy
eye that may catch a crack within the guild–
unearth the runt too often exposed
in previous exhibition unintentionally
burlesque–and ignite old bruises still
borne in my chest. Bridges burnt–now
cursed an island–though the shore is inviting.
An old friend wades through the crowd
toward my direction. I sheath the phone;
I rehearse the lines prepared to convince
her of transfiguration–to show her how
interesting I’ve become. A smile beckons
her closer, ears anxiously await to the baptism
offered by her voice, but the bitch travels
over me to the long-haired teen who leads
the worship band (and plays the douche
at the Yogurt Mill every Sunday night).
I scurry into my phone once more and
respond to imaginary text messages.
I wait for the night to end before the sermon
begin. The crowd gravitates to the chairs
furthest from me, but a new girl breaks
the taboo and sits beside me. She anoints me
a saint with her oceanic eyes–she offers
me her name–she brings me back to life;
I offer her kindness incarcerated for years.
We exchange social graces that gild the surface
of the treasure chest we just discovered,
then we turn to the pulpit as Pastor Mike prepares
his sermon–as I prepare to listen again
for the first time in three years.