Sundays we would leave
the little lutheran church
for eloise on the avenue
where my schizophrenic grandmother
lived her vocation.
my sole ancestor to the roman faith.
nylons rolled below hairy knees,
tabloid pictures of teen idols,
and tattered prayer cards
stuffed in purple pockets.
fingers stroked red rosaries and
emphatically jabbed unfiltered camels
in the unsuspecting faces of unseen
the altar there a metal table
where the ritual of
nonsense euchre reigned.
someone sprinkled urine like holy water
around the ward
where this bizarre band
chanted, muttered, cooed
a lost lullaby or the theme to gilligan’s island.
a mad liturgy of lunacy
presided over by the high priestess of the ward
who dispensed thorazine like eucharist.
but Jesus! how I saw him there!
laughing with the ladies of the euchre table
over an inadvertent trick.
lighting their smokes
whispering words too wild for my white ears.
this communion of saints
crucified my clean german god. when easter came and
the stone was rolled away,
i was blinded by the craziness
of a too-many colored God.
On the Edge, April 2004