Short-Term Evangelist

Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue
Photograph by Jason Carpenter. © Creative Commons.

I helped my church plant a garden in Chicago’s inner city,
but the plants withered, because we forgot
to water the leaves, declaring our mission accomplished once
we planted the seeds. One of the boys who pretended
to shoot me as my friends handed out cafeteria trays
asked if I’d return to play with them the next day.
I had to say no, because we planned to take a trip
to Michigan Avenue where I entered my first Apple Store.
Homeless men and women begged at the doors of Starbucks,
still holding the pamphlets on the Four Spiritual Laws we gave them
that morning during the evangelist phase of the mission.
I gave them no money because I only carry plastic,
but I gave one the rest of my vanilla bean frappe.
He wanted to talk about Jesus—I wanted to talk to a girl,
but God was watching, and so was she,
so I listened to his testimony, waiting for the opportunity
to present mine and close the sale, get close to my soulmate,
but his testimony ran too long, didn’t adhere
to the three-hundred-word limit we wrote
and rehearsed the morning we arrived in Illinois.
I drowned out his tragedies with prayers to return home
on dates with porn stars I promised I’d leave behind
once God blessed me with a family of my own,
until he stopped, and I could finally brush him away
with a passionate prayer, but though free, she already left
to see Blue Man Group with the rest of the flock.
I wandered through Michigan Avenue in search
of a light, a sign, whether it came from the sky or from a strip club.

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