Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brian Beatty: "Wigs and Hymnals"

Whatever river takes you,
it’s going to make you, too.
Locals soaked to the bone
swear that’s the only baptism
the seriously righteous need.
Who am I to disbelieve them?
Small, smooth pebbles fall out
of their teeth as they pry, pray
and preach themselves hoarse.
And I’m not here for trouble.
That doesn’t matter, of course. 
To mollify shouting onlookers
with convictions much deeper
and mightier, I’m quite certain,
than any I'm ever likely to hold
(doubters from the next ghost 
town over have surrounded me) 
my faithful hosts begin running 
around lighting each other’s hair 
on fire — using book pages
lit with wet matches.