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By Tom Moore
He had catechized us all in how to rub
the dull hides of cattle until the eyes of
each stared back at us with a startled,
distant grief. This task was known as
fearing the Lord--a wearer of Bostonians
who had the lesser ranks of angels buff,
with gentle breath, His shoes to a near
transcendent gloss. This man knew not
to carry grief into a church or to cough
too much in pews--a model of decorum's
weight that I have failed to teach my son,
with his black wool cap pulled down tight
below his ears, who hacks aloud when
the preachers bluff. Souls not intent on
mere salvation also wander in, as if trying
on a pair of loafers, pacing in them up and
down the aisles until the leather cracks.
On Saturdays he'd smoke his way through
the stations of the cross, but on Sundays he'd
be up at five, drawing ghosts through the
furnace until the timbers snapped awake.
He lived in a country of the seams of belief
and at the proper times I followed him to
church, singing, as our shoes made rain.
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Document last modified on: 09/25/2005