THE CHURCH DOWN THE STREET
They called it Bargain Basement Faith,
and I did not know how to interpret that.
I imagined the aisles of the church lined with
clothes discarded from Value Village
and Goodwill, large bags of transparent plastic
stuffed full of children’s tee shirts.
Of course they could have called it Bargain
Basement Faith, because they believed in the essentials –
the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Everything
else had to go. Or perhaps the church only met
during emergencies, fire licking the walls
a congregation of strangers kneeling together.
We have left our dimes to the gods,
placed pennies on gravestones,
just like mother told us. A childhood of
giving away small change. The quarters are ours
to keep, everything smaller belongs
to what we do not understand, she told us
this with a kiss on each cheek, before licking
our palms. I wear a business suit to work.
I have a child in daycare now. A wife that
cooks me meals and asks about retirement
funds. I empty my drawers, my jean pockets,
of small change. I visit the graveyard without
my family, and leave all the dimes
at the statue of Dionysus. I don’t know
what you do with your pocket change,
or if you have any, but I imagine
that you still give it to beggars on the side,
to any parking meter that is flashing red.
Caitlin Thomson‘s work has appeared in numerous places, including: The Literary Review of Canada, Radar, Going Down Swinging, and the anthology Till the Tide. Her second chapbook Incident Reports was recently released by Hyacinth Girl Press. You can learn more about her writing at www.caitlinthomson.com.