First Baptist of Baptistville: Deacon and Wife

The earth isn’t flat, of course, but it is spherical, he says at dinner. Too, he’s not unconvinced that Jesus didn’t turn wine back into water.

This house has the smell of snapped pencil.

We’re trying to be church friends. Like Sherman sending a final telegram before cutting the wires.

Maybe it’s the smell of ash. Spent firecracker.  

Maybe it’s the close air of the lunar module that brought the Apollo astronauts the faint sulfur of old apples.

B-bono? the deacon’s wife asks when my children bring the name up.

Bono!! my astonished children repeat. B-O-N-O!  

He finds arrowheads in the garden bed, and she once invited us to ice skate on a plowed field in February. I remember it this way. My family may not. My wife and she watched the children. I skated in fractals, ellipses, as a goalie might in a music box, talking to him while he stood like a camel.

Bright moon.

The edges of those frozen islands.

And corn stalks under the ice like bones in a drawer of a natural history museum.


One of the sons is asking to lick the lid of the ice cream tub but won't. The quiet one is like his mother. She taught him piano. The better athlete. As she’d once been. Orange mercurochrome stains from skateboarding in culottes at those abandoned apartment complexes in Santa Clarita.

Rad! says our family’s Stoner Jesus.

Would one of the children like to say grace for tonight’s dessert? she asks my wife and me.  

My sons look down. No. My fearless daughter declares that she wants to learn every word in the dictionary by July.

Oh, and, y-yes? the deacon’s wife says.

"a!” my daughter begins.

Bird Report

Almost August. Where are the swallows? Only a few on the wires. And for the record, clusters of robins in the backyard again. Like the convention hasn't started.