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          Polishing God
          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

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